Photographs made through microscope reveal hidden beauty of science – The Washington Post

Photography
By Washington Post Staff | Sep 15, 2021
The entries in Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition may originate in the world of science, but they emerge in the universe of art, revealing the creativity, talent and vision of those making the images.
Esmeralda Paric & Holly Stefen/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
This year’s first-place winner was Jason Kirk, who used a custom-made microscope to turn the biology of an oak leaf into ethereal images in white, floating against a landscape of purple and cyan.
Esmeralda Paric & Holly Stefen/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
“White are the trichomes, which are fine outgrowths that protect a plant against extreme weather, microorganisms, and insects,” according to a Nikon news release. “In purple, Jason highlights the stomata, small pores that regulate the flow of gases in a plant. Colored in cyan are the vessels that transport water throughout the leaf. All three are essential to plant life.”
Esmeralda Paric & Holly Stefen/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
First place: Trichome (white appendages) and stomata (purple pores) on a southern live oak leaf.
Jason Kirk/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Jason Kirk/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Esmeralda Paric, a research assistant in Australia’s Macquarie University Dementia Research Center, won second place for an image of 300,000 networking neurons.
Jason Kirk/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Second place: A microfluidic device containing 300k networking neurons in 2 isolated populations. Both sides were treated with a unique virus and bridged by axons.
Esmeralda Paric & Holly Stefen/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Esmeralda Paric & Holly Stefen/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Frank Reiser of Nassau Community College took third place for his picture of a rear leg, claw, and respiratory trachea of a hog louse.
Esmeralda Paric & Holly Stefen/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Third place: Rear leg, claw, and respiratory trachea of a louse (Haematopinus suis).
Frank Reiser/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Frank Reiser/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
The contest, which was founded in 1974 for photography using microscopes, had almost 1,900 entries from 88 countries this year.
Frank Reiser/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Fourth place: Sensory neuron from an embryonic rat.
Paula Diaz/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Paula Diaz/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Fifth place: Proboscis of a housefly (Musca domestica).
Oliver Dum/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Oliver Dum/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Sixth place: 3D vasculature of an adult mouse brain (somatosensory cortex).
Dr. Andrea Tedeschi/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Dr. Andrea Tedeschi/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Seventh place: Head of a tick.
Dr. Tong Zhang & Dr. Paul Stoodley/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Dr. Tong Zhang & Dr. Paul Stoodley/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Eighth place: Cross section of mouse intestine.
Dr. Amy Engevik/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Dr. Amy Engevik/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Ninth place: Water flea (Daphnia), carrying embryos and peritrichs.
DJan van IJken/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
DJan van IJken/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
10th place: Vein and scales on a butterfly wing (Morpho didius).
Sébastien Malo/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Sébastien Malo/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Kirk, director of Baylor College of Medicine’s Optical Imaging & Vital Microscopy Core, used complex lighting techniques and made about 200 images that he placed on top of each other.
Sébastien Malo/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
11th place: Vasculature of a mouse retina.
Jason Kirk & Carlos P. Flores Suarez/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Jason Kirk & Carlos P. Flores Suarez/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
12th place: Breast organoid showing contractile myoepithelial cells (blue) crawling on secretory breast cells (red).
Jakub Sumbal/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Jakub Sumbal/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
13th place: Cotton fabric with pollen grains.
Dr. Felice Placenti/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Dr. Felice Placenti/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
14th place: Snowflake.
Dr. Joern N. Hopke/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Dr. Joern N. Hopke/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
15th place: Diatom (Arachnoidiscus).
Bernard Allard/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Bernard Allard/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
16th place: An in vivo snapshot of the neurons surrounding the mouth and tentacles of a juvenile starlet sea anemone (Nematostella vectensis).
Ruohan Zhong/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Ruohan Zhong/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
17th place: Filamentous strands of Nostoc cyanobacteria captured inside a gelatinous matrix.
Martin Kaae Kristiansen/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Martin Kaae Kristiansen/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
18th place: Table salt crystal.
Saulius Gugis/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Saulius Gugis/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
19th place: Calcite crystal inclusion suspended in a spinel gemstone.
Billie Hughes/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Billie Hughes/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
20th place: Slime mold (Arcyria pomiformis).
Alison Pollack/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
Alison Pollack/Courtesy of Nikon Small World
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Credits
Photo editing by Annaliese Nurnberg. Text by Kathy Lally

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