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Nikon Announces Winners of 2011 Small World Competition

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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1st place winner: Portrait of a green lacewing larva (20X) by the inimitable Igor Siwanowicz

While science journalists’ attention remains focused on the Nobel prizes, another set of awards- rather diminutive in scope- were also released this morning.

Nikon has announced the 2011 winners of its prestigious Small World Photomicrography Competition. The contest, now in its 37th year, received over 2,000 entries. And I must say, the galleries are simply gorgeous. Go visit:

Nikon Small World

This year’s 1st place was taken by Igor Siwanowicz, whose sublime insect portraiture I’ve admired for years. Siwanowicz’s winning image is a cross section of a lacewing larva. These common insects consume prey by piercing their skin with hollow, needle-like jaws and sucking their juices. It’s a fascinating image.

Even though Small World is the grandaddy of microscopy contests, they’ve remained remarkably current with social media. You can follow @NikonSmallWorld on twitter. And, for those who differ with the judges’ picks, Nikon is also holding a popular vote.

For those of you with something small to share, next year’s deadline is April 30, 2012.

An honorable mention for Yanping Wang's "Snowflake (4x)"

An image of distinction: Andrew Gillis' "Chiloscyllium plagiosum (Whitespotted bamboo shark), embryonic pectoral fin"

Alex Wild About the Author: Alex Wild is an Illinois-based entomologist who studies the evolutionary history of ants. In 2003 he founded a photography business as an aesthetic complement to his scientific work, and his natural history photographs appear in numerous museums, books, and media outlets. Follow on Twitter @myrmecos.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Symbiartic.km 4:55 pm 10/5/2011

    ROCKIN! Andrew was a graduate student in our lab. I was always so impressed by his photography skills. So glad to see he took it to heart and is getting some formal recognition! WOOT!

    We have a number of his images from the Arctic in our Tiktaalik gallery under “Arctic Plants & Wildlife” if anyone wants to see more of his work:

    http://tiktaalik.uchicago.edu/photos.html

    Link to this

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