Award-winning science images reveal the stunning hidden world around us

The Royal Photographic Society has chosen this year’s best International Images for Science featuring stunning photography from medicine, forensic science, zoology, engineering and astronomy.

The competition was open to the public worldwide and nearly 400 photographers, including scientists, students and school children, submitted over 2,300 images.

A jury of scientists, photographers and imaging experts then selected the top 100 images, with subjects ranging from subatomic particles to far-away galaxies.

All of the images will be on display as part of a free exhibition at the 2015 British Science Festival in Bradford from 8 September to 18 September, but here are the photos that have been awarded special prizes…

Breathing Tree

Breathing tree by Dr. David Maitland FRPS
Gold award: Breathing tree by Dr. David Maitland FRPS

The tracheal system of the caterpillar of a silk moth (Bombyx mori). Invertebrates like insects do not have lungs, instead air diffuses through a tree-like network of tubes (trachea), which deliver oxygen directly to every cell in the animal’s body. The tiny body air-tubes are prevented from collapsing by hoops of chitin. This image was made using Differential Interference Contrast (DIC) lighting in a microscope and recorded on a digital SLR camera.

Red and White

Red and White by Marta Garcia
Gold award, 17 & Under category: Red and White by Marta Garcia

Macro photograph of a strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa) with growing mould and mildew. The most common moulds on soft fruits include Rhizopus sp. The growth of mould on decaying fruit happens in very specific conditions, such as humid environments and in optimum temperatures.

Tope shark foetus

Tope Shark Feotus by Rebecca Summerfield
Gold award, 18-25 category: Tope Shark Feotus by Rebecca Summerfield

Micro Computed Tomography (micro-CT) X-ray scan of an unborn tope shark (Galeorhinus galeus). The view is from above, the eyes are shown in green. This specimen was found inside the body of a pregnant shark that had been washed up on the coast, part of the Whale Strandings Program of the Natural History Museum and the Zoological Society of London. Here colours have been added by a digital process to highlight a variety of anatomical detail shown in the original monochrome X-ray scan.

Silver plaster nanotechnology

Silver Plaster Nanotechnology by Stephen Gschmeissner
Silver award: Silver Plaster Nanotechnology by Stephen Gschmeissner

Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) view of a silver-treated adhesive dressing (or sticking plaster). Silver is incorporated into the dressing fibres (red), seen here behind a non-stick polypropylene mesh (grey). Silver has antibacterial properties that may help with wound healing, especially in smaller injuries. The original monochrome SEM image has been digitally colourised.


Anchors by Dr. David Maitland FRPS
Bronze award: Anchors by Dr. David Maitland FRPS

Microscopic view of the skin of a sea cucumber, (Synapta sp.), showing remarkable protective ossicles. These are remnants of the kinds of internal skeleton found in other echinoderms, such as sea urchins, but in the sea cucumbers they have evolved to form tiny bony pieces in the skin. Here the ossicles appear like anchors linked to a sieve-like plate. This image was created using Differential Interference Contrast (DIC)illumination and was captured on a digital SLR camera.

Find more images from the International Images for Science exhibition and vote for your favourite on the Royal Photographic Society website.

Discover more amazing science in the latest issue of How It Works magazine. It’s available from all good retailers, or you can order it online from the ImagineShop. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, make sure you subscribe today!

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