Science and art have converged again this year at the microscopic level for the annual Nikon Small World 2010 photomicrography competition. Participants submitted images of luminous specimens taken using some form of light microscopy—including phase contrast, polarized light, fluorescence, interference contrast, dark-field, confocal, deconvolution and mixed techniques.
That we can see such tiny things in brilliant detail is a triumph of science and engineering. But to have a chance at taking home the prize of $3,000 toward the purchase of Nikon equipment, Small World contestants must produce triumphant pieces of artwork as well. As the competition Web site makes clear: “A good photomicrograph is also an image whose structure, color, composition, and content is an object of beauty, open to several levels of comprehension and appreciation.”