Alive, alive, O!

Alive, alive, O!

FIRST PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 24, 2011

I am supposed to be writing an article about cyberspace and the creative imagination, but the mind wanders – cyberspace is a labyrinth in which you stray at your peril. Around any corner await discoveries so stunning that work is forgotten for a few minutes, sometimes hours.

The Wellcome Institute’s Image Award Winners for 2010 have just been announced and the resulting gallery of pictures, accompanied by videos, interviews and scientific background is completely beguiling. I must now return to my article, but it gives me real pleasure to lead you astray, so without further ado, here is the diving beetle leg I promised:

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More astonishing and beautiful images from the Wellcome Collection. These were the winners of the 11th Wellcome Image Awards – announced on 23 February 2011 – “recognising the creators of the most informative, striking and technically excellent images among recent acquisitions to Wellcome Images.

The images – not all are photographs – were chosen by a panel of expert judges who, let it be remembered, are not just looking for composition, technique and beauty, but for scientific usefulness, but most, like this photograph (below) of the retina of a baby Zebra danio, danio rerio, are quite breathtaking.

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Here is a confocal micrograph of a cavefish embryo at around five days post-fertilisation. The embryo has been stained with an antibody against a calcium-binding protein (in green) to show different neuronal types and their processes in the nervous system. This staining also reveals taste buds, which are located around the mouth and along the body of the cavefish.

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[Below] Confocal micrograph showing the expression of different fluorescent proteins in the stem of a thale cress seedling (Arabidopsis thaliana), the first plant to have its entire genome sequenced.

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