This Year's Most Mind-Blowing Videos From Nikon's Small World Competition

Floscularia (tube-dwelling rotifers). Wim van Egmond/Micropolitan Museum, Zuid Holland.

From the tip of a sweating fingertip to a sprouting plant, the familiar world around us can look like a totally different planet when viewed under a microscope.

Nikon has unveiled the winners of its seventh annual Small World in Motion Photomicrography Competition. Combining all the best bits of science and art, the competition showcases the most impressive and visually stunning videos captured through a microscopic imaging device.

This year, first prize was snapped up by Daniel von Wangenheim of Austria for his incredible time-lapse video of a growing Thale cress root tip during a scientific study that looked at how plants perceive and respond to gravity.

“The aesthetic craftsmanship and the scientific component of this winning video are truly remarkable. Von Wangenheim and his team have really captured the essence of Nikon Small World in Motion,” said Eric Flem, Communications Manager, Nikon Instruments.

“As imaging technology continues to advance, it’s videos like this and the rest of our winners that help bring the intricacies of scientific research to the public.”

Von Wangenheim concurred, adding: “I like to show people the beauty of our research, and this competition is a great platform to give insight into what we and other scientists are doing. Sharing this insight beyond the scientific community is very important and can also help inspire young people to explore science.” 

Second place shows the ridges of a fingertip pouring out beads of sweat. Tsutomu Tomita of Shiki, Japan, caught this imagery by showing people a video of daredevils climbing on top of a skyscraper, thereby making them nervously sweat.

Third place winner, Satoshi Nishimura of Shimotsuke-shi, Japan, captured a video of leukocyte accumulations and platelet aggregations, which were occurring in a living mouse as it healed from an injury.

Other entries included a malaria mosquito being attacked by a fungus, fertilized sea urchin eggs dividing, the hatching of an octopus egg, and a magnified view of pixels on a smartphone screen displaying animated shapes.

As well as those who managed to take home prizes, all of the featured entries are utterly mind-blowing. You can check out the top three winning videos, along with a selection of our favorites, in the video below. You can also see some of the previous Small World In Motion videos right here.

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