The 48th edition of Nikon Small World Photomicrography unveils the beauty of the microscopic world

Photo vue au microscope de la patte d

Let’s discover another world, as if coming from another galaxy that hides all around us, Le Monde du Minuscule. Today, thanks to the Nikon Small World Photomicrography competition, take your mind to another reality, discovering the best shots of the competition.

Microscopic photo of a sea snail tongue forming very colorful parallel rods.
The radula (rough tongue) of a marine snail in X10/ ©Igor Siwanowicz/ Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition

On our earth, beyond the theories of all kinds of the multiverse, there are innumerable worlds, whose subjugating beauty we can ignore. The best known being the marine, aerial or terrestrial universe, there is one that has long been ignored, The infinitely small world. Thanks to immense technological advances, today we can unlock the secret of this universe, which is around, and even inside, us. This microscopic world has nothing to envy to ours. Thanks to its psychedelic colors, and its sometimes terrifying scenes, the Nikon Small World Photomicrography offers us a real spectacle that will surely challenge the perception of your environment.

Liberation from the microscopic world

Crystals of oxalic acid during precipitation seen under a microscope forming squares of bright colors (orange, green, blue) in the middle of a beige liquid
Oxalic acid crystals during precipitation / © James Dvorak / Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition 1975

Contrary to what one might think, the Nikon Small World Photomicrography competition is already well established in photographic competitions. Having more than 48 editions to his credit since 1975.

But over the years, thanks to fabulous technological advances, the devices for revealing these never-before-seen images have greatly improved, and have been able to give rise to even more exhilarating colors and ever more breathtaking scenes.

This year, the winners were chosen from over 1,300 photos from 72 different countries.

The horror remake of Antman

Photo seen through a microscope of a terrifying looking ant's head.
Ant in X5 magnification/ © Eugenijus Kavaliauskas/ Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition

Among them, one has stood out by touring the web and the media around the world, the “terrifying” ant. We could think of the staging of a simple little insect, but by observing its microscopic version, the harmless and cute image that we had of it, risks completely changing.

Although this picture is totally real, the doctor Eugenijus Kavaliauskas hiding behind the photo, admits all the same having voluntarily made the formicidae terrifying, thanks to a specific framing. He also explains to Inter journalists his opinion on the reactions to this photo.

There is no horror in nature. When I started microphotography, I too thought that all beetles looked like little monsters. But now I got used to it and am surprised that there are so many interesting, magnificent and unknown miracles under our feet. »

The gecko becomes a winner

Photo seen under the microscope of the leg of a giant gecko from Madagascar.  It becomes transparent and reveals all its cells.
Embryonic hand of a giant gecko from Madagascar/ © Grigorii Timin and Doctor Michel Milinkovitch/ Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition

Although the enthusiasm behind the photo of the ant is important, it is not this one that received the winning prize, but rather that of Grigorii Timin and doctor Michel Milinkovitch, two scientists in the field of genetics and evolution at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

Their work depicts a very close-up of the leg of a Madagascar gecko, revealing “ how structures are organized at the cellular level says Grigorii Timin on the competition’s official website. A revolution for science.

We imagine that you still want to see this wonderful microscopic world? Well just for you, here is a small selection of our favorite shots from this edition!

Head trauma in a mouse seen under a microscope.  It forms hundreds of filaments "drooping" in bright, fluorescent colors.
Murine sensory-motor squash, following mild traumatic brain injury in a transgenic mouse/ © Andrea Tedeschi/ Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition
Bold jumping spider seen under a microscope.  She has green eyes and a swollen reddish mouth and a blue abdomen.
Bold Jumping Spider/ © Dr. Andrew Posselt/ Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition
Photo of Alaskan sand seen under a microscope.  It represents dozens of green, yellow, orange and pale pink crystals.
Alaskan Sand/ © Xinpei Zhang/ Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition
Wood cells seen under a microscope.  Thousands of small pink, blue and purple circles are visible.
Wood Cells/ © Anne-Francoise Tasnier/ Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition
European mushrooms on a pear leaf.
European pear rust fungi/ © Dr. Csaba László Pintér/ Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition
Diatoms arranged forming a psychedelic rosette with triangles, squares and circles of all colors.
Diatoms arranged in the shape of a rosette/ © Klaus D. Kemp/ Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition

If you want to discover the winning shots of previous editions, or simply learn about the microscopic world, go just below!

Official contest website right here!

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