20 Wonders of the Microscopic World

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Image: Nikon Small World

The devil’s in the details, and detail is something these unusual photographers know best. You won’t find any grand landscapes or celebrity portraits in this collection. These are the best of the best in photomicography, exploring the world in all its microscopic glory.

On October 16, respected imaging magnate, Nikon, announced this year’s Small World Competition winners. Top entrants ranged from lab-dwelling experts in light microscopy to hobbyists keen on the tiny side of life. Submissions, numbering near two-thousand, included magnified glimpses of slugs, crustaceans, algae, and even a CD case, artistically showcasing the invisible wonder hidden within earth’s natural and manufactured ecoverse.

The overall winner for 2008, Michael Stringer, doesn’t make a living from microscopy but he’s spent over 60 years in the passionate, if not a bit bizarre, pursuit of tiny silica-encased algae called diatoms. The passion paid off when he was awarded the top prize of $3,000 in Nikon gear and a trip to New York City.

A critical aspect of much bio- and material-science research, photomicography has been celebrated by this bold and colorful competition since 1974. Here are this year’s winners…


Image: Nikon Small World

1. Pleurosigma (Marine Diatoms)

Michael Stringer, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, UK

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Image: Nikon Small World

2. Carbon Nanotubes (Post Growth)

Paul Marshall, National Research Council Canada

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