These photos show the world of science in stunning detail

science 19

(Louis Reed, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Douglas Broom, Senior Writer, Formative Content


From the structure of a soap bubble to a close-up of a gas nebula thousands of light years from Earth, prepare to see science through a whole new lens.

The inaugural Science Photographer of the Year competition, organized by the UK’s Royal Photographic Society, has produced an incredible collection of images captured by photographers of all ages and experience levels.

Entrants were asked to take a visually appealing picture that tells a science story. The photographers used technology ranging from a radio digital telescope to the humble smartphone. The winner will be announced at the Science Museum in London at the beginning of October.

Here is a selection of the shortlisted entries.

Soap bubble structures showing light interference colours and patterning
Image: Kym Cox/RPS

Bubbles, which optimize space and minimize their surface area for a given volume of air, are a useful tool in many areas of research like materials science.

Mapping Oxygen
Image: Yasmin Crawford/RPS

Created as part of a final major project for a master’s in photography, this picture shows oxygen being studied to find treatments for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).

Calmness of Eternity
Image: Yevhen Samuchenko/RPS

The high-mountain lake Gosaikunda in the Himalayas, Nepal, with the Milky Way overhead. The galaxy is thought to span for up to 200,000 light years.

Safety Corona
Image: Richard Germain/RPS

A safety pin connected to a high-tension AC generator, creating a corona glow around the pin. The camera did not actually capture light reflected on the pin but rather the light emitted by the ionized air around it.

Confused flour beetle
Image: David Spears/RPS

This picture of a small beetle – a pest in stored grain and flour products – was taken with a scanning electron microscope and coloured in Photoshop.

NGC7000 North American Nebula
Image: Dave Watson/RPS

The North America Nebula, a giant emission nebula – formed of ionized gases – in the constellation of Cygnus. Its shape is the continent of North America, complete with the Gulf of Mexico.

Stag beetle
Image: Viktor Sykora/RPS

An image of a stag beetle, taken using light microscopy at a magnification of 5X.

Lovell Telescope
Image: Marge Bradshaw/RPS

Inside the Lovell Telescope – a machine that helps us in our quest to understand space and time – at Jodrell Bank Observatory, northwest England. This image shows the wear on the telescope’s structure.

Upside down Jellyfish (Cassiopea xamachana)
Image: Mary Anne Chilton/RPS

This species doesn’t swim, but instead pulses up and down in the water. Its diet includes sea plankton, and its colouration comes from the algae in the water.

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