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Hamburg, 04/25/2018 | Story | Life Science Solutions Image of the Year: How sea cucumbers become impressive pieces of art
Have you ever wondered what the skin of a sea cucumber, a glass sponge or a sciatic mouse nerve looks like? And how science and art fits together? Then discover the fascinating microscopy images of the Olympus Image of the Year Award 2017.
One probably does not expect to find beautiful pieces of art in science, a field not generally seen as being particularly artsy. The microscopes of Olympus, however, enable you to see abstract structures, fluorescent colors and remarkable combinations of science and art when looking at microscopic samples.
The main aim of the Olympus Image of the Year Award, a campaign introduced by Olympus Life Science in 2017, is to forge a link between science and art, and to honor the best microscopic photographs. A jury of four experts has now selected the most beautiful of all the pictures submitted.
And the winners are…
The first winner of the 2017 award, Dr. Steve Lowry, has used microscopy to create art for over ten years now. He created the award-winning image of a sea cucumber skin by using polarized light microscopy. “The sea cucumber’s skin is more or less transparent without the polarized light,” says Dr. Lowry. “I do still produce images that have technical information rather than artistry but the thing that really fascinates me is producing images that have a bit of both.” With his image he has won an Olympus SZ51 microscope, which he will use to explore further microscopic techniques.
“I was introduced to microscopy as an undergraduate, but this tended to be uninspiring from a creative point of view – endless lugworm cross sections stained red turned me off! However, when I started using a microscope as an imaging tool, it opened up a new world for me,” says Dr. David Maitland, who won second prize. A former zoologist and now full-time professional photographer, he specializes in microphotography. His winning image shows a glass sponge created with phase contrast imaging.
Dr. Bob Asselbergh has won third prize in the 2017 Image of the Year Award. His stunning depiction of a segmented overlay of a mouse sciatic nerve not only provides a glimpse of art in the field of image quantification but is also part of a study into nerve degeneration. “The final image is just an overlay – a merge of the colors and the original image” says Dr. Asselbergh.