Olympus has announced this year’s winners of the BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition, a contest of the finest photographs from recent research in the life sciences. Shown above is the overall winner, but do browse through the entire winner’s gallery for all the amazing works.
A luminous golden ‘fairy fly’ that seems to defy gravity as it hovers with feathered wings against a dark background took top prize in the 2008 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®, the world’s foremost forum for showcasing microscope photos and videos of life science subjects. Mr. M. I. “Spike” Walker of Staffordshire, England, took top honors for the shimmering image of what is called a fairy fly, actually a tiny wasp that may be the world’s smallest insect at only 0.21mm long, or 1/25 the length of the average red ant. The eerily glowing wasp, captured in exquisite detail, reveals the extraordinary delicacy, balance, beauty, and numerous colors in the diminutive creature.
This year’s winning images reflect a fascination with the awe-inspiring influence of science in everyday life, with surprising views of white wine, human teeth, ticks, wings and feathers, fruit flies, honeybees, mosquitoes, moss, pollen, lobster eggs, tongues, snails and petrified wood among the honorees. Across the spectrum are other images that reflect the latest advances in neuroscience and cell biology, including the Fourth Prize image of zebrafish neurons captured by Albert Pan of Harvard University, using the “Brainbow” imaging technique, one of the most advanced fluorescence imaging methodologies available today. (Last year’s top prize winner was a Brainbow image captured by another researcher in the same Harvard University laboratory.)