Science in Focus: Our Five Favorite Photography Contests

Science allows us to discover – and share – the unknown and unseen. The role of science images (photographs, art, graphs, infographics, and videos) in this endeavor can’t be overstated. They help us understand and further investigate our world! So take a guilt-free break from the November hustle to check out some of the best science photos from this year.

  1. Nikon Small World in Motion – Under the microscope movies and time-lapse photos tell powerful stories about our world. Ready to see some a sea anemone’s neurons firing and baby blue DNA dividing? Then check out the five 2022 winners here as determined by their originality, technique, impact, and information content.
  2. Nikon Photomicrography Competition – For nearly 50 years this competition has been showcasing the power of the light microscopes and every year the entries just seem to get better. This year’s photos have been described as humbling, haunting, and even horrifying. All the 2022 winners can be seen online or see if the traveling exhibit is coming to your town.
  3. Cool Science Image Winners – Every year scientists from the University of Wisconsin Madison compete for the “Cool Science Image” prize. The combination of top-level research and very broad requirements lead to dazzling and diverse entries. This year included a collection of X-ray lung photos turned into art by AI, fluorescent red labeled brain cells, and a quilt describing a mathematics theorem! 
  4. Wildlife Photographer of the Year – If the frenzied bee ball didn’t come across your news feed last month here’s your chance. This photo contest hosted by the Natural History Museum of London hopes to “harness the power of photography to advance scientific knowledge…and nurture a global love for nature.” So go ahead and scroll through all these magnificent images.
  5. Comedy Wildlife Photo Finalists – Last but not least, these photos will make you laugh! The competition’s a great reminder of the presence and power of humor both in the natural world and in science. Check out these not to be missed photos including a farting zebra, smiling baboon, and drama queen penguin.  

Honorable mention:  Nature’s Science at Work Photo Competition. – This one is still accepting entries and won’t be published till December. But it’s worth checking out the previous year’s winners or even better submit a photo (20,000 pixels at the longest edge minimum) of your own lab or scientists at work.

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