CENTER VALLEY, Pa., Nov. 17, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- A weird, wide-eyed wonder has earned top prize in the 2010 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®, the world's foremost forum for showcasing microscope photos and movies of life science subjects. Dr. Igor Siwanowicz of the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Munich, Germany captured the image, which showcases the bug-eyed splendor of a Daddy Longlegs, also known as a Harvestman or Phalangium opilio. The photo reveals not only the eyes' lenses (two large ovals), but also the retinas and optic nerves (trailing down at center back) of the artistic arachnid. This stunning depiction, a depth color-coded projection of a confocal microscope image, was selected from about 2000 images and movies to earn First Prize - $5,000 worth of Olympus equipment.
Now in its seventh year, the Olympus BioScapes competition is the world's premier platform for honoring images and movies of human, plant and animal subjects as captured through light microscopes. Any life science subject is eligible, and entries are judged based on the science they depict, their aesthetics (beauty and impact of the image), and their technical merit. This year, in addition to Prizes 1-10, 59 other images and movies were recognized with Honorable Mentions or Technical Merit Awards. All images and the names of honorees may be viewed online at www.olympusbioscapes.com.
This year's winning images reflect the latest advances in neuroscience and cell biology, including the Second Prize image by Thomas Deerinck of the University of California, San Diego's National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research. His image of a rat hippocampus, part of the brain involved with spatial navigation and memory, resembles a beautiful undulating ocean wave as it might have been painted by an Impressionist artist a century ago.
Third Prize went to an electrifying image of coral captured by James Nicholson, Coral Culture & Collaborative Research Facility, NOAA NOS NCCOS Center for Coastal Environmental Health & Biomolecular Research, Fort Johnson Marine Lab, Charleston, South Carolina. The brilliant orange image seems to shimmer with a vibrant, three-dimensional glow.
In addition to advanced research, some of the winning and honorable mention images reflect people's endless fascination with the little things in life such as mushrooms, fish scales, insects, roots, bandages and red wine. One Honorable Mention went to Ralph Grimm of Jimboomba, Australia for a delightful movie showing a water bear walking from underneath, as if it were on a catwalk above. Water bears, which resemble a beloved type of children's chewy candies, are tiny creatures that have legs, claws, eyes, skin and muscles and walk by lumbering from side to side like a bear.
The Top 10 and Honorable Mention images this year came from five continents and many nations including such far-flung locations as Brazil, Canada, Korea, Pakistan, Poland and Spain. Specimens included plants, along with human and animal subjects. For instance, Yanping Wang of Beijing, China earned Ninth Prize for a brilliantly composed image of wildflower seeds, and M. Reza Dadpour of Tabriz, Iran captured Fifth Prize for his poetic image of a flower bud.
"BioScapes images and movies hold a mirror up to the complexity, beauty and grace of the living universe," said Osamu Joji, Group Vice President and General Manager, Scientific Equipment Group, Olympus America Inc. "But even more, they tell stories about some of the most important and compelling research being done today. The BioScapes Competition, with entries representing more than 60 countries, allows Olympus to bring these fascinating science images and stories to the world."
Twenty of the 2010 winning and Honorable Mention images will be displayed at the San Diego Natural History Museum from December 2010 to February 2011. The 2010 winners' tour will continue to venues in New York City, suburban Washington D.C., Providence, R.I., Baltimore and other cities. Simultaneously, other exhibits of winning BioScapes images will tour cities across the U.S., Mexico, South America and Canada throughout 2011.
Olympus selects outstanding authorities in microscope imaging as judges for the competition, which is open to users of any brand of light microscope equipment. This year's BioScapes panel of judges included the eminent Mark Ellisman, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego; Catherine Galbraith, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland; Anne Kenworthy, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee; and Douglas Murphy, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Campus, Virginia.
In addition to Igor Siwanowicz (1st and 7th), Thomas Deerinck (2nd), James Nicholson (3rd), M. Reza Dadpour (5th) and Yanping Wang (9th), the other Top 10 winners include: Wolfgang Bettighofer of Kiel, Germany, for his image of living Licmophora juegensii on red alga (4th); Jerzy Gubernator of Wroclaw, Poland, for his image of Spirogyra (6th); Jan Michels of Kiel, Germany, for his depiction of a beetle leg (8th); and Laurie Knight of Tonbridge, Kent, UK, for his image of a weevil (10th).
To view the BioScapes gallery and see all of the winners, 57 Honorable Mentions and 2 Judges' Awardees for Technical Merit, visit www.olympusbioscapes.com. For free access to the images, media members and other noncommercial users may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olympus is a precision technology leader, creating innovative opto-digital solutions in healthcare, life science and consumer electronics products. Olympus works collaboratively with its customers and affiliates worldwide to leverage R&D investment in precision technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines. For more information, visit www.olympusamerica.com.
WINNING PHOTOS AND GALLERY AVAILABLE AT: www.olympusbioscapes.com