One of the most amazing things of working in science and that my job has to do with imaging and big fancy microscopes is the unbelievable beauty that -sometimes- can be found underneath our data. Precisely for that reason, there are plenty of scientific photo contest around the world, and I haven't yet met a person that hasn't got impressed at least once by an image of a cell, an animal or even a stone at a scale or from a perspective never seen before.
Cause just like the artist, the scientist also looks at the world in a special way. Today's pictures are the finalists and winners of the spanish National Scientific Photo Contest FotCiencia9 that took place last year; there will be also some from the series "Stunning Scientific Sights" from the american MSNBC. However, the former are of better quality, I believe. Check them out and get your own idea!
This first picture (above) is called "Invisible structures" from C. Solana.
In this other picture we can see the inner structure of soap bubbles, strange? Fore more info check the whole explanation in FotCiencia9 (you might need GoogleTranslate though). The next displays an oxide that is under study as a potential component of chemical batteries (like any you have at home, for your radio for example). Do particles really look like ice cream balls? Not really. The image was taken with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and then artificially colored. This kind of microscope is used to resolve the surface of very small things, be it cells, organules inside cells, virus, or as in this case materials. The picture's called "Ice cream balls"from M. Carbajo.
This psicodelic picture is also a product of electron microscopy, this time transmission (TEM). The difference between the two is that whereas with the other we scanned the surface of things with this one we can see
through things, with very high resolution. And what we see here is two bacteria loving each other very much. The picture shows again false colors which are necessary to analyze certain image parameters and not just to make it pretty. No photoshop for these stars...
The name of this one is "Bacterial Intimacy" from F. Gómez. The next image was the winner of The International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. I can already tell you that by its title: The Metabolomic Eye, it depicts an eye. A mouse retina where each cell is labelled in a different color depending on their metabolic profile. Cool, right? "Metabolomic eye from Bryan William Jones from University of Utah" Want more? No problem. I promise you there'll be more here, of course! Meanwhile, if you happen to be so lucky as to set foot in Spain check the dates and places of the FotCiencia9 winners exhibition to enjoy them live...well, sort of.