microscopic

Butterfly eggs on a raspberry plant
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A micro-crack in steel
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Household dust
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Needle and thread
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E.coli bacteria on lettuce

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Beard hairs under a scanning electron microscope: cut with razor (left) and electric shaver (right)
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A moth wing
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Leaf of a Virginia spiderwort
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Marijuana
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Shark skin

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Scale of the universe

Scroll to your hearts content from the Planck length to the diameter of the observable universe - click on any object and it will open an info box - I can’t imagine how much work must have gone into this. A few surprising things: Pluto has a smaller diameter than the width of the USA and Vatican city can fit in central park multiple times.

Find it here

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You Wish Your Neurons Were This Pretty

When Greg Dunn finished his Ph.D. in neuroscience at Penn in 2011, he bought himself a sensory deprivation tank as a graduation present. The gift marked a major life transition, from the world of science to a life of meditation and art.

Now a full-time artist living in Philadelphia, Dunn says he was inspired in his grad-student days by the spare beauty of neurons treated with certain stains. The Golgi stain, for example, will turn one or two neurons black against a golden background. "It has this Zen quality to it that really appealed to me,“ Dunn said.

Cell Cycle Century

The 6 phases of the cell cycle (from top left) are shown for 2 cells in the embryo of the marine worm Cerebratulus marginatus. Each image is a projection of a 40-80 0.3-μm confocal section: interphase, microtubules are long and diffuse; prophase, chromosomes condense and small asters appear; prometaphase, the nuclear envelope breaks down but the spindle is not yet built; metaphase, chromosomes aligned at the spindle equator; anaphase, sister chromatids separate along the spindle as astral microtubules grow; telophase, cleavage furrow constricts around astral microtubules and the central spindle as 2 nuclei reassemble.

By George von Dassow, University of Oregon

n the 1800s, many artists used microscopic algae to create intricate patterns called diatom arrangements. Diatoms are single-cell algae that create their own glass shells, which present a vibrant display of shapes and colors when viewed under a microscope. Source

Winner of Honorable Mention in Olympus’ BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition® of 2010.

This image captured via darkfield and polarized light microscopy shows desmid Micrasterias, a chlorophyceae alga of extraordinary beauty, beginning to divide. Micrasterias have bilateral symmetry, with two mirror image semi-cells joined by a narrow isthmus containing the nucleus.

Image by Antonio Guillén, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain

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Fernan Federici – Microscopic Photographs of Plants

These surreal images are microscopic photographs of various plants, taken by Dr. Fernan Federici. He is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge working in the area of Synthetic Biology. He started his career studying two years of Engineering at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo (Mendoza, Argentina) and then moved to Chile to obtain an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology. Later he moved to England to do a PhD in Biological Sciences at Cambridge. Each of Federici’s photographs depicts the cellular life of a different form of flora, from rainforest specimen to coniferous forest inhabitants. The plants’ bright colors, hollow-looking cells and overall intensity make for some absolutely stunning photographs that are both visually arresting and thought-provoking. The vibrant and detailed photographs show just how intricate and beautiful nature really is.

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The winners of the ninth annual Olympus Bioscapes Digital Imaging Competition have been announced and they’re as good as you would expect given that they were selected from from nearly 2,000 entries from 62 countries. 

This year’s winner is by Ralph Grimm, a teacher from Australia who made this video of a colony of microscopic rotifers from a lily pad in his pond.

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Above: the tip of a hypodermic syringe needle.

Below: the tip of a fang from the cobra Naja kaouthia.

Both are designed to pierce the skin and admit fluids into the bloodstream, although it is often the case that the intended effects are polar opposites.

Artificial designs frequently imitate those of nature; in this case, mankind was approximately 25 million years late. 

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Microscopic Photos of the Elements

[Click images to enlarge & read descriptions.]

Ryoji Tanaka’s photographs may look like alien landscapes, but they are very much of this world. The organometallic chemist at Sagami Chemical Research Institute in Kanagawa, Japan, snaps pictures of everything from iodine to silver using a system of Nikon digital SLR cameras with macro and ultra macro lenses.

To see more of Tanaka’s work visit his website and Flickr.”