Autumn and sciency pics: the perfect combo.

Yeyyy! That time of the year again! No, not happy ONLY because the autumn is back but because Small World Nikon 2013 is back! one of those photo contest that have been present in the blog for a couple seasons, and like always comes full of -good- surprises.

Let’s start with this one. An Image with a Distinction. What do you see? Animal, plant or thing?

Dr. Veli-Pekka Ronkainen, Finland

It’s something closer than what you might imagine. Actually, you might be carrying it with you right now…It’s a 10x zoomed image of the surface of a 1 Euro coin as it is seen with a confocal microscope after 3D reconstruction.

Let’s move on. The next might look like the cover of that colors box you had as a child but in fact it’s the image obtained when recristalizing sulphur and looking under polarized light. Of course, under some magnification: a hundred times, to be precise. Could you imagine?

Dr. Edward Leighman Gafford, Washington, USA

The next special mention goes to a picture which would look perfect in a contemporary art museum: A coloured sphere surrounded by some sort of gray 3D nest like structure. The cell nucleus of a cell in culture surrounded by the microtubular network that makes up its citoskeleton zoomed a 100 times and observed by confocal microscopy.

Dr. Mariela Loschi, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Another one which could easily figure among the collection at the Reina Sofia. It looks simply like red paint splattered over a canvas but in fact what it’s shown is the explosive dynamics of sugar transport within a fat cell. The author calls this transport explosive because of the high speed at which the glucose transporters move to deliver energy to the cell (glucose is nothing but the cell’s fuel).

Dr. James Burchfield, Sydney, Australia

Usually people would finish with the first prize or with the TOP3 but it turns out I like much better the TOP19, not only because of its beauty but also cause it vindicates a classical technique: optic microscopy, chemical dyes -no antibody staining- and thin slicing. In this image there appears a muscle section together with its innervating nerve at a 40x magnification, and if we pay some attention we can even see the contact points between nerve and muscle where the neuromuscular synapses are and where muscle innervation and consequently muscle contraction take place.

Dr. David Ward, California, USA

To finish I will recommend, like always, to go check the contest website and surprise yourselves with some more wonders hidden right in front of your eyes. Till the next time!