These photographs are the best of the best in science photography in Australasia.
The first three images are the finalists in the 2014 New Scientist Eureka Prize for Science Photography. The rest have been highly commended.
They are among 44 finalists selected for 15 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, Australia’s top science awards, worth a total of $150,000.
The winners will be announced on September 10.
The Alfred manta, up to 5.5m wide, is one of the largest rays on the planet. Queensland Museum’s Gary Cranitch has captured this graceful giant feeding on plankton, lit by sunbeams just below the ocean surface. His image is a finalist in the 2014 Australian Museum New Scientist Eureka Prize for Science Photography.
This scanning electron microscope (SEM) image by Dr Mark Talbot of CSIRO, ACT, shows young wheat flower buds which will eventually become seeds. Using different modes of the SEM, two images of the same tissue were captured, superimposed and artificially coloured to highlight cell outlines (blue) and nuclei (orange).
This unique way of creating SEM images unexpectedly revealed details normally seen only with a confocal laser microscope, even though the microscopes work in very different ways.
Charles Tambiah from the ACT has composed this striking image of a basket star, Gorgonocephalus sp., by ‘painting’ with micro-light to peel back layers of science.
Using the full breadth of tools within imaging software, and fibre-optics for lighting hidden spaces, Charles has painted multiple layers of information out of blackness, unravelling this simple, yet complex, marine invertebrate.
The exquisite complexity of a moth’s head is revealed in this highly detailed photograph by Ralph Grimm, a teacher from Jimboomba, Queensland.
Crown-of-thorns Sea Stars have a justifiably bad reputation for causing damage to the Great Barrier Reef. Richard Wylie’s photo, taken at Lizard Island, demonstrates that even one 40-centimetre wide Crown-of-thorns can eat its way through a large area of reef. The white coral, which has been consumed by this sea star, is in sharp contrast to the healthy sections of reef.
Perth researcher Michael Bradshaw’s image shows skin cells with internalised nanoparticles. The large circle is a 10-millimetre coverslip and the bright orange dots are the fluorescent and magnetic nanoparticles inside the cells. The cells are being induced to migrate off to the left of the coverslip via an external magnetic field. This kind of cellular control has implications in wound healing.
Melbourne photographer Phred Petersen’s image is a composite of four frames from high-speed video showing the aerodynamics of an auto-rotating samara, or ‘helicopter’ seed. This seed was tagged with a theatrical smoke formula to show an integrated picture of its descent. Understanding the aerodynamics of these natural helicopters has application in the bio-inspired design of micro air vehicles.
Anne Rios’ picture, taken inside human breast tissue, shows a 3D view of the elaborate milk-producing ductal network enwrapped within the blood vessels. This photo represents more than 100GB of data, obtained with a new, cutting-edge3D confocal strategy developed at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne. It allows a unique visualisation of expansive areas of breast tissue with high cellular resolution that could bring new insights in breast cancer.
An ancient landscape for modern science, Pete Wheeler, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
Using a long exposure and the light of the full moon to illuminate the landscape, Perth’s Pete Wheeler has captured one of the 128 ‘tiles’ of the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope and a distant ‘breakaway’ beneath a star-studded Murchison sky. Located in the Western Australian outback, the array is a precursor to what will be the largest telescope ever built—the Square Kilometre Array.
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