The Nikon Small World Gallery gives you a glimpse into a remarkable world that most have never seen. It is a window into a universe that can only be seen through the lens of a microscope. For the past 38 years, Nikon has sponsored the international Small World Competition, the world's foremost forum for recognizing excellence in photography with the optical microscope. Listed below are links to image galleries featuring photomicrographs from the winners of previous contests.

2013 Small World Contest

2013 Small World Competition Winners NEW!

Images of specimens entered in the 2013 Small World contest included marine diatoms, Hippocampal neuron, dinosaur bones, retina cells, mineral thin sections, Annelid larva, desmids, nerve and muscle thin sections, and human brain tissue. Judges for the 39th annual contest were Cara Santa Maria (Science Educator), Ron Vale (University of California), Alan Taylor (The Atlantic), Joan Ruderman (Marine Biological Laboratory), and Michael Davidson (Florida State University).

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2012 Small World Contest

2012 Small World Competition Winners

Images of specimens entered in the 2012 Small World contest included zebrafish embryo, lynx spiderlings, bone cells, retina cells, mineral thin sections, flower pistil, desmids, diatoms, and vitamin C. Judges for the 38th annual contest were Daniel Evanko (Nature Methods), Martha Harbison (Popular Science), Robert Goldman (Northwestern University), Liza Pon (Columbia University), and Michael Davidson (Florida State University).

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2011 Small World Contest

2011 Small World Competition Winners

Images of specimens entered into the 2011 Small World contest included insects, microchips, desmids, cultured cells, dinosaur bones, sand, graphite, and coral. Judges for the 37th annual contest were Alan Boyle (MSNBC.com), Dan Vergano (USA Today), Simon Watkins (University Of Pittsburgh), Richard Day (Indiana University), and Michael W. Davidson (Florida State University).

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2010 Small World Contest

2010 Small World Competition Winners

Images of specimens entered into the 2010 Small World contest included a mosquito heart, fish brain, soy sauce, snail radula, soap bubbles, chemical crystals, embryos, and liquid crystals. Judges for the 36th annual contest were Jeremy Kaplan (FoxNews.com), Betsy Mason (Wired.com), Alison North (Rockefeller University), and Shirley Owens (Michigan State University).

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2009 Small World Contest

2009 Small World Competition Winners

Images of specimens entered into the 2009 Small World contest included microorganisms, plant tissues, fish scales, fibers, chemical crystals, soap bubbles, integrated circuits, liquid crystals, and snowflakes. Judges for the 35th annual contest were Gary Borisy (Marine Biological Laboratory), Charles Krebs (Charles Krebs Photography), James Shreeve (National Geographic), and journalist Clive Thompson.

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2008 Small World Contest

2008 Small World Competition Winners

Images of specimens entered into the 2008 Small World contest included insects, recrystallized chemicals and biochemicals, fluorescently labeled tissue sections, plants, various microorganisms, liquid crystals, and fibers. Judges for the 34th annual contest were Ivan Oransky (Scientific American), Alice Park (Time magazine), David L. Spector (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory), and Ron Sturm (CTLGroup).

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2007 Small World Contest

2007 Small World Competition Winners

Images of specimens entered into the 2007 Small World contest included insects, recrystallized chemicals and biochemicals, fluorescently labeled tissue sections, plants, various microorganisms, liquid crystals, and fibers. Judges for the 33rd annual contest were Thomas Deerinck (University of California, San Diego), Nicole Dyer (Popular Science), John Hart (University of Colorado, Boulder), Malcolm Ritter (Associated Press), and Daniel Sieberg (CBS News).

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2007 Small World Contest

2006 Small World Competition Winners

Images of specimens entered into the 2006 Small World contest included insects, recrystallized chemicals and biochemicals, fluorescently labeled tissue sections, plants, various microorganisms, liquid crystals, and fibers. Judges for the 32nd annual contest were Sir Harold W. Kroto (Florida State University), Cristina Scalet (Time Magazine), Vladimir I. Gelfand (Northwestern University), and J. D. Talasek (National Academy of Sciences).

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2007 Small World Contest

2005 Small World Competition Winners

Images of specimens entered into the 2005 Small World contest included insects, recrystallized chemicals and biochemicals, fluorescently labeled tissue sections, plants, various microorganisms, liquid crystals, and fibers. Judges for the 31st annual contest were Jennifer C. Waters (Harvard Medical School), Todd James (National Geographic), Emily Harrison (Scientific American), and Alexey Khodjakov (Wadsworth Center).

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Older Small World Galleries

2004 Small World Competition Winners

Images of specimens entered into the 2004 Small World contest included neurons, Quantum Dot crystals, plant tissues and fibers, cells in culture, recrystallized chemicals, animal tissue sections, a tapeworm, and several microscopic invertebrates. Judges for the 30th annual contest were Michael Peres (Rochester Institute of Technology), Bonnie Stutski (Smithsonian Magazine), Ellis Rubenstein (New York Academy of Sciences), Ted Salmon (University of North Carolina), and Michael W. Davidson (Florida State University).

2003 Small World Competition Winners

Among the wide variety of specimens entered in the 2003 Small World competition were a rat brain, nematode worms, latex spheres, thin films, a snowflake, cells in culture, sperm cells, a computer chip, polymers, algae, several plants, and a variety of chemical crystals. Judges for the 29th annual contest were Carolyn L. Smith (National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke), Paul Forscher (Yale University), Jennifer Waters Shuler (Harvard University), Kristine LaManna (Popular Science Magazine), and Michael W. Davidson (Florida State University).

2002 Small World Competition Winners

Visit Small World gallery to view prize winners of the 2002 Small World contest. Images of specimens entered into the 2002 Small World contest included a rat brain, marine diatoms, deer skin, cells in culture, sperm cells, a computer chip, polymers, algae, several plants, and a variety of chemical crystals. Judges for the 28th annual contest were Douglas B. Murphy (Johns Hopkins University), Jennifer Waters Shuler (Harvard University), Elizabeth Carr (Simmons College), Maisie Todd (Discover Magazine), and Michael W. Davidson (Florida State University).

2001 Small World Competition Winners

Specimens entered into the 2001 Small World contest included a rotifer, mouse brain, cells in culture, fruit fly sperm, snowflakes, bat parasites, several plants, and a variety of chemical crystals. Judges for the 27th annual contest included Dr. Kenneth R. Spring (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute), James E. Hayden (Bio-Graphics), James C. Wyant (University of Arizona), and Michael W. Davidson (Florida State University).

2000 Small World Competition Winners

Specimens entered into the 2000 Small World contest included plastic bubble wrap, a mangrove leaf, bamboo, soap, a canine eye, a mouse tongue, medusa worm skin, chemcial crystals, bovine arterial cells, zebrafish gills, and a human umbilical cord. Judges for the 26th annual contest included Dr. Kenneth R. Spring (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute), Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging), Dr. Nancy Kedersha (Harvard Medical School), and Michael W. Davidson (Florida State University).

1999 Small World Competition Winners

Utilizing contrast enhancing techniques such as fluorescence, differential interference contrast (DIC), polarized light, darkfield, oblique and Rheinberg illumination, the 1999 contest winners provide an exciting glimpse of an unseen world. The panel of judges for the silver anniversary of the Small World contest were Todd James (National Geographic), William K. Barnett (American Museum of Natural History), Michael W. Davidson (Florida State University), Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging), and Daniel Farkas (University of Pittsburgh).

1998 Small World Competition Winners

With 11 winning entries coming from specimens photographed in polarized light, the 24th annual Small World contest demonstrated the diversity of materials that could be studied with this illumination technique. Judges for the 1998 contest were Simon C. Watkins (University of Pittsburgh), James E. Stautzenberger, Jr. (Materials Engineering Institute), Colin S. Izzard (SUNY, Albany), and Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging).

1997 Small World Competition Winners

The 23rd annual Nikon International Small World Competition drew entrants from around the world as well as from a diverse range of academic and professional disciplines. Winners came from such fields as chemistry, electronics, biology, genetics, pathology, materials research, botany, and biotechnology. The judges were Kenneth C. Moore (University of Iowa), William R. West (Carolina Biological Supply), Joseph G. Barabe (McCrone Associates), and Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging).

1996 Small World Competition Winners

The subject matter for the 22nd annual International Small World Competition was unrestricted and attracted a diverse set of entries that included specimens from cell biology, neuroscience, genetics, cancer research, botany, chemistry, and materials science. Judges for the 1996 contest were Kenneth C. Moore (University of Iowa), Phyllis Z. Budka (General Electric), Joseph Ogrodnick (Cornell University), and Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging).

1995 Small World Competition Winners

The 1995 contest drew entrants from around the world as well as from a diverse range of academic and professional disciplines. Winners came from such fields as chemistry, electronics, biology, veterinary medicine, pathology, materials research, ecology, and biotechnology. The judges were Robert Hand (University of Buffalo), William R. West (Carolina Biological Supply), Michael W. Davidson (Florida State University), and Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging).

1994 Small World Competition Winners

The 20th annual Small World contest drew images photographed utilizing a wide variety of techniques including brightfield, polarized light, darkfield, Rheinberg illumination, and differential interference contrast (DIC). Judges were Nancy L. Kedersha (Harvard University), Michael W. Davidson (Florida State University), William R. West (Carolina Biological Supply), and Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging).

1993 Small World Competition Winners

From an arranged diatom image resembling a Christmas tree to the trachea of a scolopendrid, the photomicrographs in the 19th annual Small World contest covered a wide spectrum of disciplines. Judges for the 1993 competition were Thomas J. Covatta (Smith Klein Beecham), E. Laura Stocker (Naval Air Warfare Center), Francis W. Doane (University of Toronto), and Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging).

1992 Small World Competition Winners

The first place photomicrograph was made from a 10-year old preparation of pharmaceuticals by noted Dutch microscopist Lars Bech. Other entries included specimens from the fields of biology, botany, chemistry, cancer research, geology, materials science, electronics, and paleontology. Contest judges were Thomas J. Hopen (McCrone Research Institute), John Paul Vetter (Western Pennsylvania Hospital), Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging), and David L. Spector (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory).

1991 Small World Competition Winners

The twenty winning entries of the 17th annual Nikon International Small World Competition were displayed for the month of November, 1991, at Nikon House in New York City's Rockefeller Center. Winning photomicrographs utilized a diverse set of techniques including darkfield, polarized light, fluorescence, reflected differential interference contrast (DIC), Rheinberg illumination, and several stunning brightfield images. The judges were Cynthia A. Fitzsimons (McCrone Associates), Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging), Randy O. Wayne (Cornell University), and Raymond E. Lund (Johns Hopkins University).

1990 Small World Competition Winners

Specimens entered into the 16th annual Small World contest ranged from marine parasites to integrated circuits, brain cells, precious minerals, and even a horse's hoof. Judging the contest were: Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging), Arch V. Manzione (United Technologies), Frederick C. Skvara (John F. Kennedy Medical Center), and William R. West (Carolina Biological Supply).

1989 Small World Competition Winners

Among the illumination techniques used by contestants in the 15th annual Small World competition were fluorescence and cathodoluminescence. Images taken with darkfield, polarized light, Rheinberg, and brightfield illumination were also awarded prizes. The judges were Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging), John G. Delly (McCrone Research Institute), Steven C. Chamberlain (Syracuse University), and Beth L. Wismar (Ohio State University).

1988 Small World Competition Winners

The wide spectrum of disciplines representing images entered in the 14th annual Small World contest included chemistry, archaeology, biology, anatomy, metallurgy, pathology, neurology, ecology, and biotechnology. Judging the contest were James A. Dvorak (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), James M. Atkinson (Sunnybrook Medical Center), Joseph H. Groeger, Jr. (University of Connecticut), and Michael R. Peres (Rochester Institute of Technology).

1987 Small World Competition Winners

Winners of the 1987 Small World contest came from such fields as pathology, biology, anatomy, chemistry, biophysics, botany, metallurgy, and marine science. The distinguished panel of judges included Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging), George Watchmaker (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), James A. Dvorak (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), and Roger P. Loveland (Kodak Research Laboratories).

1986 Small World Competition Winners

The 12th annual Small World contest featured a wide spectrum of microscope illumination techniques including polarized light, darkfield, brightfield, differential interference contrast (DIC), cathodoluminescence, fluorescence, and Rheinberg illumination. Judging the 1986 competition were: William Marin, Jr. (Brookhaven National Laboratory), Sinya Inoué (Marine Biological Laboratory), Margaret Ryan (Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), and Martin L. Scott (Eastman Kodak).

1985 Small World Competition Winners

Specimens entered in the 11th annual Small World contest included nematodes, algae, slime molds, soybeans, metallic alloys, silk, a water bear, and a bandage. The contest judges were Martin L. Scott (Scientific Imaging), William H. Love (University of California - Berkeley), Donald H. Fritts (University of Illinois), and Chester F. Reather (Johns Hopkins University).

1984 Small World Competition Winners

Illumination techniques used by microscopists in the 10th annual Small World contest included differential interference contrast (DIC), polarized light, oblique, reflected, brightfield, fluorescence, darkfield, and Rheinberg illumination. Judges for the 1984 competition were Skip Palenik (McCrone Associates), Martin L. Scott (Eastman Kodak), Nile Root (Rochester Institute of Technology), and James A. Dvorak (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases).

1983 Small World Competition Winners

Requirements for the 1983 competition were that total magnification fall between 20x and 2000x, and (for the first time) that all entries be 35 millimeter color photomicrographs in transparency format. In previous years, entries were received in a variety of formats, making judging and handling of the photographs difficult. The judges were Jack Kath (Merck Sharp & Dohme), Stanley Klosevych (University of Ottawa), Martin L. Scott (Eastman Kodak), and R. J. Gray (Oak Ridge National Laboratory).

1982 Small World Competition Winners

Illumination techniques utilized by the winners of the 8th annual Small World contest included polarized light, darkfield, differential interference contrast (DIC), brightfield, fluorescence, and Rheinberg illumination. Judging the contest were Martin L. Scott (Eastman Kodak), Nina Strömgren Allen (Dartmouth College), Charles P. Hodge (Montreal Neurological Institute), and David Gnizak (Ferro Corporation).

1981 Small World Competition Winners

Both photomicrography and macrophotography efforts were awarded prizes in the 1981 Small World contest. Among the winners were specimens imaged with polarized light, brightfield, reflected and transmitted differential interference contrast (DIC), phase contrast, and a macro lens. The judges for the 7th annual Small World contest were Martin L. Scott (Eastman Kodak), Nina S. Allen (Dartmouth College), Vernon Miller (Brooks Institute), and Raymond E. Lund (Johns Hopkins University).

1980 Small World Competition Winners

Entries for the 6th annual Small World contest were judged on the basis of informational content, composition, color balance, color contrast, and originality. The contest judges were Martin L. Scott (Eastman Kodak), John A. Reffner (American Cyanamid), John D. Taylor (Wayne State University), and James P. Kendrick (George Washington University).

1979 Small World Competition Winners

In 1979, Nikon held the Small World competition for the 5th time. Specimens entered by the contestants included salt crystals, green algae, mammalian tongue tissue, a newt stomach, the slime gland of a hogfish, a thin section of woody tree tissue, butterfly wing scales and a variety of recrystallized pharmaceuticals and other chemicals. Judges were Verlin Y. Yamamoto (U.S. Veterans Administation), John P. Vetter (Western Pennsylvania Hospital), Martin L. Scott (Eastman Kodak), and Rick Ellis (McCrone Associates).

1978 Small World Competition Winners

Illumination techniques utilized by contestants in the 4th annual Small World competition included polarized light, phase contrast, darkfield, fluorescence, interference contrast, Nomarski DIC, Hoffman modulation contrast, and Rheinberg illumination. Judges for the 1978 contest were Martin L. Scott (Eastman Kodak), Verlin Y. Yamamoto (U.S. Veterans Administration), Robert F. Smith (Cornell University), and John G. Delly (McCrone Associates).

1977 Small World Competition Winners

The 1977 Small World competition (at the time, called the Photomicro/macrography contest) was sponsored by the Nikon Instrument Division when it was a subsidiary of Ehrenreich Photo-Optical Industries, Inc. Included among the unusual microscopy techniques employed by the entrants: utilizing a darkfield condenser in a polarizing microscope, "rear" illumination, Hoffman Modulation Contrast (very new at the time), electronic flash photomacrography, and ultraviolet illumination.

Combining microscopy and photography, a photomicrographer is able to capture an image of the world that the naked eye cannot see. A photomicrograph is a technical document that can be of great significance to science or industry. But a good photomicrograph is also an image whose structure, color, composition, and content is an object of beauty, open to several levels of comprehension and appreciation.

The Nikon Small World Competition is open to anyone with an interest in photography through the microscope. Entries have been received from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Winners have included both professionals and hobbyists.


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