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.