Small World Big Pictures

Small World is regarded as the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope. For over 30 years, Nikon has rewarded the world's best photomicrographers who make critically important scientific contributions to life sciences, bio-research and materials science. A photomicrograph is a technical document that can be of great significance to science or industry. But a good photomicrograph is also an image whose structure, color, composition, and content is an object of beauty, open to several levels of comprehension and appreciation.

The official judging for the 36th Annual Small World Photomicrography Competition took place on May 13, 2010. The winners will be announced on October 13, but you do get the chance to pick your favorites among this year’s top entries by clicking on the link at the end of this post.



Fabrice Parais, Atherix ibis (fly) aquatic larva (25X)

The Nikon Small World Competition is open to anyone with an interest in photography through the microscope. Truly international in scope, entries have been received from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Winners have included both professionals and hobbyists.


Gerd A. Guenther, Sonchus asper (spiny sowthistle) flower stem section (150X)

The subject matter is unrestricted and any type of light microscopy technique is acceptable, including phase contrast, polarized light, fluorescence, interference contrast, darkfield, confocal, deconvolution, and mixed techniques. Entries submitted to Nikon are then judged by an independent panel of experts who are recognized authorities in the area of photomicrography and photography. These entries are judged on the basis of originality, informational content, technical proficiency and visual impact.

Entries may be submitted either on film (in 35 millimeter transparency format) or uploaded digitally through your web browser.


Pedro Barrios-Perez, Wrinkled photoresist (200X)

Winners will receive one of 20 prizes, sorted according to rank in the competition. First prize is $3,000 toward the purchase of Nikon equipment. In addition, the winner is invited to attend an awards presentation ceremony in New York City as Nikon’s special guest.


Heiti Paves, Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress) anther (20X)

Each year, the top 20 prize-winners are exhibited at numerous museums and science centers throughout the United States and Canada. Many winning images are also featured on the covers of prestigious scientific and industrial journals.

Cast Your Vote


To cast your vote for this years entries, click here


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