From cat's skin to the Hawaian bobtail squid – these photos show the beauty of science

Technology Eye | March. 08, 2017

Science is essential to our well-being and economic progress but is struggling to recruit the brightest and best, particularly women. The profession has a bit of an image problem.

Appropriately enough, one of the most successful tactics for bringing science to life has come through strong visual content produced by a growing army of scientists, photographers and artists.

The best of their work is celebrated at the annual Wellcome Image Awards . Here are some of this year's highlights.

Hawaiian bobtail squid

The Hawaiian bobtail squid is native to the Pacific Ocean. The squid have a light organ on their underside that houses a colony of glowing bacteria called vibrio fischeri. The squid provide food and shelter for these bacteria in return for their bioluminescence.

Cat skin and blood supply

At first glance this looks a bit like a particularly colourful feather, but it's actually a section of cat skin, showing fine hairs (yellow), whiskers (thicker yellow lines) and blood supply (black).

Zebrafish eye and neuromasts

The zebrafish is often used in scientific experiments because there are plenty of them, as well as the fact that its young are almost completely transparent, making it easier for scientists to study them.

Here, scientists are using the fish to study a gene expressed in the lens of the eye (the red circle in the middle of the image), and cells called neuromasts (the red dots). This fish’s nervous system is shown in blueish-green.


This image shows how neural stem cells grow on a synthetic gel called PEG. After just two weeks, the stem cells (magenta) produce nerve fibres (green).

Synthetic DNA channels transporting 'cargo' across membranes

This is an artist’s impression of the tube-like channels that span the membrane around our cells.

The channels, depicted here as grey tubes, control two-way communication between the cell and its environment, shown by blue spheres.

The placenta rainbow

The range of colours in this image show the big effect that changes in the immune system have on the placental development of a mouse.

Blue represents the nucleus, where DNA is stored and controlled; blood vessels are stained in red; and trophoblasts, the first cells to form in the developing embryo, are stained in green.

SOURCE: World Economic Forum

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