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Top Photographs Through the Microscope Combine Art and Science:
Winners of Nikon’s Small World Competition at The Wistar Institute
January 9, 2007, Volume 53, No. 17

Pupil of a Freshwater Shrimp
Pupil of a acrobrachium amazonicum (freshwater shrimp)
(20x) by Alex H. Griman, 11th place. Alex Kawazaki Photography.

In science, discoveries depend on the power of the tools available to the investigator. Advanced telescopes reveal the secrets of deep space to astronomers, for example. Similarly for biologists, ever more sophisticated microscopes open new windows on the intricate structures and subtle processes of life, leading to scientific discovery and medical progress.

Nikon’s annual Small World competition, now in its 32nd year, celebrates the complexity and beauty of the world as captured in photographs taken through the microscope. 20 winning images from the contest, combining originality, informational content, technical proficiency, and visual impact, will arrive at The Wistar Institute for a seven-week stay. From Monday, January 15, through Friday, March 2, the exhibition will be open to the public at no charge. Hours for the exhibition are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“The hardest thing to remember when examining the images in this exhibit is that the subject matter is real–not some fantasy artist’s interpretation of an unknown universe,” says James E. Hayden, manager of Wistar’s Microscopy Facility. Mr. Hayden, who has previously been a winner and judge for the Small World competition, is coordinator of the exhibition at Wistar. “These amazing views of life and the physical world have as much value to the research scientist as they do to the 3rd grade art student studying patterns and colors. It is this unique juxtaposition that the exhibit is ultimately about; seeing rare beauty and art at the cutting edge of science.”

“Nikon’s Small World gives us a glimpse into a world that few people ever see,” according to Lee Shuett, executive vice president of Nikon Instruments. “With today’s digital imaging capability, we can not only see the smallest objects, we can also study how different objects interact and change over time. Never before in human history have we had this powerful imaging capability to see and analyze so much information about human biology.”

SeaweedMicrodictyon umbilicatum (seaweed) (20x) by Dr. John M. Huisman, Murdoch University, Australia, 14th place.

The Nikon Small World contest was founded in 1974 to recognize excellence in photography through the microscope. Each year, Nikon makes the winning images accessible to the public through the Nikon Small World calendar, a national museum tour, and an electronic gallery featured at www.nikonsmallworld.com. Below are selections from this year’s competition.

 

Almanac - January 9, 2007, Volume 53, No. 17