1st Place: Multiple views of Drosophila embryonic development. This embryo was recorded in 30-second intervals over a period of 24 hours, starting three hours after egg laying. The newly hatched larva begins to crawl off screen at the end of the video. Custom-built simultaneous multi-view light sheet microscopy. William Lemon, Fernando Amat and Philipp Keller, HHMI Janelia Research Campus, Ashburn, VA, USA. (2014 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®)
2nd Place: Rat brain cerebellum. Multiphoton photography, 300x. Thomas Deerinck, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, University of California San Diego, CA, USA. (Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®)
3rd Place: Barnacle appendages that sweep plankton and other food into the barnacle's shell for consumption. Confocal microscopy, 100x. Igor Siwanowicz, HHMI Janelia Research Campus, Ashburn, VA, USA. (2014 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®)
4th Place: Phyllobius roboretanus weevils. Stereo microscopy. Csaba Pintér, Keszthely, Hungary. (Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®)
5th Place: Rat brain cerebral cortex depicting cell nuclei (cyan), astrocytes (GFAP, yellow), and blood vessels (EBA, red). Confocal microscopy. Madelyn May, Hano, NH, USA. (Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®)
6th Place: Magelonid polychaete worm larva from a plankton sample collected in Southampton Water off the south coast of the UK. Actual specimen size approx 2mm. Confocal microscopy using a 10x objective. David Johnston, Southampton General Hospital Biomedical Imaging Unit, Southampton, UK. (Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®)
7th Place: Butter daisy (Melampodium divaricatum) flower at 2x magnification. Fluorescence. Oleksandr Holovachov, Ekuddsvagen, Sweden. (Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®)
8th Place: Proboscis (mouthparts) of a vampire moth (Calyptra thalictri). The moth was captured by Jennifer Zaspel in Russia. The proboscis was imaged at 10x and shows the dorsal legulae, tearing hooks, and erectile barbs that facilitate the acquisition of fruit juices and mammalian blood when feeding. Confocal microscopy. Matthew S. Lehnert and Ashley L. Lash, Kent State University at Stark, North Canton, OH, USA. (Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®)
9th Place: Green coneheaded planthopper (Acanalonia conica) nymph with its gears. The insects are accomplished jumpers, able to accelerate at staggering 500 times the force of gravity (500xg); to synchronize the movement of their hind legs, their trochanters are coupled with a pair of cogs. The insect demonstrates that gears, which until recently were thought to be a human invention, exist in the natural world. Confocal microscopy, magnification ca. 200x. Igor Siwanowicz, HHMI Janelia Research Campus, Ashburn, VA, USA. (Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®)
10th Place: Neural activity in an entire zebrafish brain in vivo. The video, which shows fast 3D recordings of the entire larval brain (ca. 100,000 neurons), depicts, for the first time, an almost exhaustive view of single-neuron activity in the brain of a living vertebrate. Custom-built simultaneous multi-view light sheet microscopy. Philipp Keller, Fernando Amat and Misha Ahrens, HHMI Janelia Research Campus, Ashburn, VA, USA. (Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®)

Some of the Most Beautiful Things in Nature Come in the Tiniest of Packages

The winners of the 2014 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition capture a rat brain, the mouthparts of a vampire moth and other small wonders


Photographs are special in their ability to capture and preserve a single moment. But the winners of the 2014 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition take the power of photography and videography one step further: they capture moments hidden to the human eye, seen only through the magnifying lens of a microscope. The footage of a fruit fly developing, for instance, or neurons firing in a zebrafish's brain is a captivating blend of art and science, combining scientific curiosity with an artistic aesthetic.

Now in its 11th year, the BioScapes competition attracts nearly 2,500 images from researchers and scientists working in 70 countries around the world. Images and movies depicting any life science subject, taken through any sort of microscope, are eligible. An international panel of four judges evaluates each image based on its aesthetic value, the science it depicts and the technical skills it required. In 2014, the judges awarded ten images highest honors and named 62 honorable mentions. Winners hail from 14 U.S. states and 21 countries; nine of these entries are videos. 

"For 11 years, Olympus has sponsored this competition to shed light on the importance of research and draw attention to the amazing intersection of science and art," said Hidenao Tsuchiya, Chairman of Olympus Scientific Solutions Americas, part of Olympus Corporation, in a press statement. "Olympus BioScapes movies and images have spurred public interest in and support of microscopy, drawn attention to the vital work that goes on in laboratories worldwide, and inspired young people to seek careers in science."

This year's first place winner is a short video that shows a Drosophila embryo emerge from trembling cells. It's one of the first times that scientists have been able to capture on film the transformation of individual cells immediately after fertilization.

The 10th place winner, another video, depicts single-neuron activity in a vertebrate's brain for the first time.


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