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The Nikon Small World Competition (nikonsmallworld.com)
166 points by ivank 9 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 25 comments





Especially like the abstract angular nature of the 1996 winner, 'Doxorubin in methanol and dimethylbenzenesulfonic acid' by Lars Bech

https://www.nikonsmallworld.com/galleries/1996-photomicrogra...


This one got my attention too. I don't know if it's because it's only one that's monochromatic, or it just reminds me of Radiohead's Kid A artwork.

Hah, you’re right. Those two are very similar!

I get the impression of a certain style of children's book illustration.

It looks like castles

It's wonderful that microscopic algae can look like a giant starship engine:

https://www.nikonsmallworld.com/galleries/2020-photomicrogra...

Yet these things generate up to 50 percent of the oxygen produced on the planet each year and make up about half of the organic material found in our oceans.


What amazes and delights this non scientist, is the relatively small magnifications required to examine life in such radically revealing ways.

So many of the images that are captivating me have been taken at between 50 and 100 times magnification.

This makes me think about how close human perception is to the ability to gain access to a vastly expanded understanding of our world, and yet we seem to have been made to live in a different scale of existence, one that maybe makes us the ideal scale for shaping the world around us with physics, but I am prompted by these images to wonder how much more sympathetic with our environment we might have been, had we ability to see even a little way into the micro scale.

As a former photographer and in advertising, but as a child you wouldn't have bet against me pursuing a career in the sciences and particularly biology and botany, I must particularly rue the relatively poor availability of photographic tools for micro photography. Macro and micro lenses almost disappeared from catalogues about the time when autofocus was introduced. Minolta sold the only 1-3 times magnification autofocus lens and I've never seen one. Only last month, Sony started selling the adapter that can enable Sony Alpha cameras to attach and correctly use old A mount lenses.

It's not quickly easy to find information about photomicography, but in case it's missed the Small World website links to this very good resource:

https://www.microscopyu.com/


If you're truly interested in this, don't both with micro and macro lenses. Instead, buy a scope (https://www.amazon.com/AmScope-B490B-Magnification-Illuminat...) and a DSLR adapter (https://www.amazon.com/AmScope-CA-CAN-SLR-Camera-Adapter-Mic...).

I've had many hours of enjoyment collecting moss and finding tardigrades, rotifers, and so many other experiments. Using a DSLR adapter and watching the results externally makes things much more comfortable (although you lose the stereo effect).


I couldn’t see tardigrades, but I have had a lot of fun with this [1] under $30 USB microscope. If you don’t want to invest a ton, then a cheap USB microscope is a good start. [1] https://www.amazon.com/Jiusion-Magnification-Endoscope-Micro...

> So many of the images that are captivating me have been taken at between 50 and 100 times magnification.

Without knowing which images you are referring to it's hard for me to say, but on many of the images I looked at that was only the objective lens magnification, so not the total magnification which includes the eyepiece magnification, typically 10x.


> So many of the images that are captivating me have been taken at between 50 and 100 times magnification.

300-600x magnification is much better.

https://youtu.be/Ygty9HxhFK4?t=309



I wonder how plausible it is to genetically engineer algae to sequester more carbon e.g. make them bigger and heavier so they sink to the bottom of the ocean, and also make them reproduce faster.

Does anyone know anything about this? (I don't)


Engineering RuBisCO (the enzyme in charge of carbon fixation and the rate-limiting step in photosynthesis) has been quite difficult, as some side reactions generate products that, for instance, inhibit RuBisCO itself. If you make the fixation reaction more efficient the other ones follow.

Another option is increase the amount of RuBisCO in the cell. In cyanobacteria the enzyme is encapsulated in compartments called carboxysomes. Some studies have introduced carboxysome-like components in non-cyanobacterial organisms with varying results.


They live in a hugely competitive environment. Any custom algae that weren't as competitive as natural ones would soon die out, and it's pretty hard to beat nature at its own game...

I've been staring at the "Iridium Phosphide surface @ 1000x magnification" for a few minutes now; I find it strangely enchanting:

https://www.nikonsmallworld.com/galleries/1996-photomicrogra...


* Indium

If you like this you'd love the Animal Earth book by Ross Piper.

It's absolutely beautiful.

https://www.rosspiper.net/writing/animal-earth/


Many of the crystal photos wouldn't be too hard to reproduce on your own- a reasonably good microscope (Amscope) costs about $1K or less on Amazon, you need an adapter to plug in a DSLR, and a DSLR ($500). Then it's mainly a matter of mixing up supersaturated solutions. I've managed to get images of sugar forming crystal towers, which is fun to watch.



I'm a fan of cross polarised thin sections: https://c8.alamy.com/comp/AX1388/lherzolite-rock-thin-sectio... (especially because rotating the stage changes the colours, for an instant 60's light show.)

Bonus clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlxUnzuMAD0


I agree. I quite like the "Chemical Crystals" under "Polarized Transmitted Light Microscope" at https://www.dealcorner.com/Photomicroscopy/

Am I missing something or didn't you actually intend to link to P!nk - White Rabbit (Full Studio Version)?

riffing off the 60's light show, sorry. The Lucy in the Sky part of Yellow Submarine is no longer up on Youtube, and I was too lazy to search out the old analogue days.

You wouldn't believe the frame rates they had: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n3ezT1cvAM&t=30




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