« Back to articlePrint this article

Photographing the Microscopic: Winners of Nikon Small World 2020

October 19, 2020 07:54 IST

The world looks very different under a microscope...

Don't believe us?

Here's a look at the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, which celebrates images taken using microscopes and has announced the winning photos for its 2020 contest.

A beautiful image of the dorsal side of a zebrafish won the first prize. The image was taken by Daniel Castranova and assisted by Bakary Samasa while they were working in the lab of Dr. Brant Weinstein at the National Institutes of Health. Not only was it an amazing microscopic photo, but the image was significant because it helped Castranova’s team in a groundbreaking study about the anatomy of zebrafish.


Here are our choices of the 15 of the best images from the contest.

Daniel Castranova, assisted by Bakary Samasa while working in the lab of Dr Brant Weinstein at the National Institutes of Health, took the top prize for his artfully rendered and technically immaculate photo of a juvenile zebrafish. The image is a dorsal view of the head of a fish with fluorescently ‘tagged’ skeleton, scales (blue) and lymphatic system (orange), taken using confocal microscopy and image-stacking. Photograph: Daniel Castranova, Dr Brant Weinstein & Bakary Samasa/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

Embryonic development of a clownfish (Amphiprion percula) on days 1, 3 (morning and evening), 5, and 9, created using image-stacking. It shows the development, from hours after fertilisation (even with a pack of sperm cells being visible on top of the egg), until hours before hatching. The primary challenge was to create sharp focus stacking pictures while the embryo was alive and moving. Photograph: Daniel Knop/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

Dr Igor Siwanowicz captured this image of the tongue (radula) of a freshwater snail, using confocal microscopy. Photograph: Dr Igor Siwanowicz/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

Multi-nucleate spores and hyphae of a soil fungus (arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus). Photograph: Dr Vasileios Kokkoris, Dr Franck Stefani & Dr Nicolas/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

Hebe plant anther with pollen. Photograph: Dr Robert Markus & Zsuzsa Markus/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

Chameleon embryo. Photograph: Dr Allan Carrillo-Baltodano & David Salamanca/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

Connections between hippocampal neurons. Photograph: Jason Kirk & Quynh Nguyen/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

Human hair. Photograph: Robert Vierthaler/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

Crystals formed after heating an ethanol and water solution containing L-glutamine and beta-alanine. Photograph: Justin Zoll/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

Leaf roller weevil (Byctiscus betulae) lateral view. Photograph: Özgür Kerem Bulur/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

Ventral view of an immature water boatman. Photograph: Anne Algar/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

A close view of an atlas moth's wing. Photograph: Chris Perani/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

A 20 million-year-old winged ant, trapped in amber resin. Photograph: Dr Yuan Ji/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

A jumping spider. Photograph: Andrei Nica/Nikon Small World Photo Competition

Salt crystals from the Salar de Uyuni brine. Photograph: Maria Jesus Redrejo Rodriguez & Dr Eberhardt Josue Friedrich Kernahan/Nikon Small World Photo Competition