If you ever played with a starter microscope set as a kid, you may have felt the amazement of creating a miniature world simply by placing a drab little speck of matter under its objective lens. That same sense of wonder surely drove the winners of the 2006 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition, an annual contest for the best microphotographs of living (or once living) things. The Olympus Corporation recruited a panel of microscopists to judge each entry on its scientific contribution, aesthetic quality and technical excellence—not just who could present the gnarliest looking bug head. Bear that in mind as you view the 10 finalists, announced last December, along with our picks for the most interesting honorable mentions. Note: some mismatched captions have been corrected.
16 Mind-Blowing Microphotographs of Living Things
Prize-winning microviews of everything from mouse retinas to slime mold: Click here to launch the image gallery