Fractals, Parasites and 3-D Reconstructions: 18 Startling Science Images

Czech "Science Is Beautiful" photo and illustration competition explores the wondrous worlds discovered via scientific investigation
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A female red-veined darter, Sympetrum fonscolombii , pulls up her leggy landing gear and "brakes" with her wings to pause on a twig. This photograph was the first place winner of the "Scientific Photography" category in 2010; it was taken with a Canon 7D camera.....[ More ]


At 0.6 millimeter across, Typhlodromus pyri is a fierce predatory mite that hunts other kinds of mites. One female T. pyri can kill hundreds of red spider mites during her lifetime. Viktor Sýkora took the photograph using a scanning electron microscope, then colorized the image in Adobe Photoshop.....[ More ]


  No, you're not seeing stars. This is a common liver fluke, a parasite in the duck intestine. Its cell nuclei have been illuminated with a fluorescent molecular marker. The most concentrated bright spots are located in the fluke's reproductive organs.....[ More ]


The C. amber chameleon—whose scales shift in hue from lemon to turquoise—comes from Madagascar and was discovered in 2006. Jiří Bálek photographed one a year later in the island nation's Amber Mountain National Park.....[ More ]


This just-hatched bearded pygmy chameleon, Rieppeleon brevicaudatus , may someday outsize the matchstick it's perched on—but just barely. Adults grow to a scant five centimeters in length.....[ More ]


Here the photographer presents two images of one subject. In "Second Devil's Bit," the focal point is a perennial plant known as devil's–bit scabious or Scabiosa columbaria . ....[ More ]


The dragonlike form visible in this image is actually the fruit of a prickly scorpion's–tail plant, Scorpiurus muricatus . The photo—taken using a stereomicroscope with illumination in a dark field—received first place in the category "Scientific Microphotography."....[ More ]


This maplike surface with its lagoons of green and mustard-colored highways is actually an image of the mineral wardite. The image received second place in the category, "Scientific Photography.&....[ More ]


The subject of the photograph is actually a study aid whose colorized cartilage offers an anatomy lesson. The photograph gives viewers a chance to marvel at the delicate architecture within a young chick.....[ More ]


The whimsically titled image actually shows a cross-section of a reed plant. The large green-ringed cells belong to the phloem, a vascular tissue that transports the sugars created by photosynthesis. ....[ More ]


The mineral olivine, when viewed under an optical microscope, becomes a collage of colorful lines and patterns. In this image you can spot the stone's veins and grains—some beginning to corrode.....[ More ]


This digital painting of Falco deiroleucus , a species found in South and Central America, shows off the raptor's beautifully patterned plumage.....[ More ]


This painting depicts a fully formed human fetus in a mother's womb. The watercolor depiction of life's beginning placed second in the category "Scientific Illustration."....[ More ]


This jovial toucan, a depiction of Ramphastos dicolorus , received first place in the "Scientific Illustration" category. The artist used felt-tip pen and watercolor to paint the bird, then touched up the image via Gimp software.....[ More ]


This kaleidoscopic image is actually a wave function, which illustrates the locational probabilities of an excited subatomic particle. The particle is more likely to be in the red areas than in the green; it is least likely to be in the black spaces.....[ More ]


This 3-D reconstruction reveals the many sides of an ostracod, Eucypris virens . Strong x-ray photographs from 1,500 angles and four distances combined to create a virtual reconstruction of this tiny crustacean, a mere one millimeter in size.....[ More ]


With details that would make a Gothic cathedral look plain by comparison, it's hard to believe this model is based on a simple mathematical formula. This 3-D analogue to the famous Mandelbrot set was discovered in 2009.....[ More ]


The dizzying array of color is a microscopic look at the epidermal cells of a plant known as the mouse-ear cress , or Arabidopsis thaliana, a popular model organism in biology. Chloroplasts, pores and cytoskeletons stand out, thanks to fluorescing proteins.....[ More ]

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