Science through the eyepieces

The November issue of BioTechniques magazine includes my TechNews feature on digital photomicroscopy contests, “Awards Season: Science through the eyepiece.” Taking a look at the people who enter the Nikon Small World and Olympus BioScapes competitions — their methods and motivations — I discovered that some microscopists deliberately seek out images to enter, while others essentially stumble across a winning shot. All are artists, blending visually stunning images with scientific import, and all have interesting stories to tell. But my favorite by far was that of UCSF researcher Matt Springer, whose black-and-white 4th place entry in Nikon’s 2008 competition, dubbed the “Dance of the Dicty,” languished in a drawer for 15 years before Nikon plucked it from obscurity. Springer calls the image, taken during his time as a postdoctoral fellow, “a good conversation starter.” Colleagues who only know of his current research on blood vessels often ask about his former work, having seen it in the ubiquitous calendars Nikon distributes to its customers. “Ironically, because of that calendar, I think more people have seen that photo than any of the ones I [published] for my research project,” he says.

~ by jeffreyperkel on November 2, 2010.

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