A strange and unseen world exists at our fingertips, and only microscopes have the power to bring this hidden dimension into view.
To honour the beauty and scientific importance of microscopic photographs — also called micrographs — the Nikon Small World image contest hands out awards and prizes to researchers and hobbyists who capture the most impressive images.
A handful of independent judges picks the contest’s 20 best micrographs, and this year I joined the 43rd judging panel.
We reviewed more than 2,000 pictures from all over the world, and selected the best pictures based on technique, subject matter, and inherent beauty. (We also watched hundreds of stunning videos for the 2017 Nikon Small World in Motion competition.)
The image shown above is a tapeworm’s head with all of its spiky mouthparts in stunning detail. To see more of the stunning images the judges saw, keep scrolling.
This image won first place. It shows keratin structures in 'immortalised' human skin cells, which are increasingly important tools for medical researchers.
Sensory hair cells (red) and neurons (green) reveal the structure of a rat cochlea (part of the inner ear).
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