Discover the Microscopic Wonders of Olympus’ 2021 Image of the Year Awards
Just in time for spring, several winners capture a close-up view of fern spores to pollen tubes hidden in a flower petal
This year's global winner was a close-up image of a thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) flower with pollen tubes growing through the flower’s pistil. Scientists use the plant to study growth and development processes in plants and plant genetics.
A startling world not seen with the naked eye is revealed within the lens of a light microscope. From the glowing pollen tubes of the model plant thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) to spores of a soil fungus, this year’s winners of the Olympus Image of the Year Awards (IOTY) showcase the breathtaking intricacies of microscopic world.
This year’s global winning image was awarded to Jan Martinek from the Czech Republic for their close-up image of a thale cress flower with pollen tubes brianching through the flower’s pistil. Scientists use Arabidopsis thaliana as a model plant to study growth and development processes in plants and plant genetics.
Three other regional winners—divided into the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe combined with Africa and the Middle East—were also announced. Additional honorable mentions were awarded to photos of fruit fly ovaries, an embryonic zebrafish nervous system, and a mouse brain.
Contestants could upload up to three photos. While the microscope didn’t have to be Olympus branded, images had to be taken using a light microscope or other devices featuring optical light technology. Expert jurors picked the most astonishing images based on artistic flare, visual detail, scientific impact, and microscope expertise, reports Anete Lusina for Peta Pixel. Microscopic images were accepted from October 18, 2021 to March 1, 2022.
The Global Winner — Jan Martinek
Americas Regional Winner — Ivan Radin
Europe, the Middle East, and Africa Regional Winner — Vasilis Kokkorisfrom
Elizabeth Gamillo is a daily correspondent for Smithsonian and a science journalist based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has written for Science magazine as their 2018 AAAS Diverse Voices in Science Journalism Intern.