Every year, Nikon’s Small World in Motion Competition rounds up the best microscopic videos from scientists across the world. The results are strange but beautiful, and the winner will make you think about your breakfast in a completely different light.
Nikon’s competitions always throw up great images, but this year’s winning video is quite incredible. Recorded by Oxford-based pathologist Anna Franz, it shows how injecting ink into a chick embryo can reveal its system of blood vessels before your eyes. To record the video, Franz first had to cut a window into an egg to expose the 72-hour-old embryo. She then injected ink into a tiny artery, all the time recording the process using a 3-D microscope. “This movie not only demonstrates the power of the heart and the complexity of vasculature of the chick embryo, but also reflects the beauty of nature’s design,” says Franz.
Some of the other entries are worth a watch, too. Scooping second place is Dr Dominic Paquet’s time-lapse movie of mitochondria transport in the nerve cells of transgenic zebrafish. The cell membranes are green and the mitochondria are labelled in blue.
In third place is Dr Ralf Wagner’s other-worldly video of a water flea playing with algae as if it’s a toy ball. Apparently he found it in his garden — so it’s less pure science, and more about the wonder of nature.