By DeusExMacintosh

Eye-candy du jour…

Colourful and visually stunning – but also important in our understanding of scientific advances – the winners of this year’s Wellcome Image Awards range from a close up look at a bloody sticking-plaster, to the striking shades of a ruby-tailed wasp viewed through a microscope.

The judging panel were looking for images that did not simply convey scientific information – but also had aesthetic beauty. Take a look at some of the 21 winning entries with Catherine Draycott, Head of Wellcome Images.

The BBC site features an audio slideshow of all the winning images.

“B0007642 Honey Bee
Credit: Annie Cavanagh. Wellcome Images

False colour scanning electron micrograph of a Honey bee. The honeybee has a hairy thorax and segented abdomen, a pair of double wings and three pairs of segmented legs, each one with a different ‘tool’, designed for a specific functions to assist in the collection and transport of pollen.”


  1. Movius
    Posted February 25, 2011 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    An excellent collection.

    The blood clot on plaster was my favourite.

  2. Posted February 25, 2011 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    None of my own microphotographs were that pretty!

    There were so many things you’d see down microscopes in biol, or even in physics with optics experiments that were visually stunning.

    Other time you’d be struck by the beauty of the functional solution.

    You’d also see things where you knew the suffering the person or animal would have gone through.

    When you’d look at something visually stunning that you knew involved suffering, there was a weird confusing emotion – recognizing the evil beauty as beauty, but the implied suffering with sadness.

    Perhaps non-biologists could get an idea by considering the beauty of a large weather system as seen from orbit, such as the recent queenland storms, the patterns implying complex patterns of wind and water condensation, while recognizing the human misery caused by destructive winds.

    Is that a mix of emotions, or a hybrid emotion? Hard to tell – but it /is/ the kind of thing we need wordsmiths to describe to the general public so they can share in the emotional reaction to the universe, something more profound, more worth words than “daffodils are pretty”.

  3. Jacques Chester
    Posted February 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    The word you need, Dave, is “ambivalence”.

  4. kvd
    Posted February 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    The honeybee has a hairy thorax and segented abdomen

    Finally! An article about my next door neighbour.

    But aren’t the English are so lucky – having bees that big! If I found one I might make friends with it, and I would call it Melissa – although I gather that’s taken, so it would be somewhat derivative.

    But then again, Melissas have hairy eyeballs, and there’s nothing worse in the morning than watching your newfound friend shaving his/her eyeballs.

  5. Posted February 25, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    You do have to wonder what on earth my mother was thinking…

  6. kvd
    Posted February 26, 2011 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    Just be thankful your mother wasn’t thinking about Blattaria at the time.

    But Dave is right when he talks about the beauty of the functional solution. I remember on my first trip to England being mesmerised by a couple of bumblebees in my aunt’s garden. Such funny ungainly little animals. I wonder what problem it was that found them to be the perfect solution?

  7. Posted February 26, 2011 at 3:41 am | Permalink

    Pollination, presumably. Pollen sticks to the little hairs on their legs and is carried much further afield than it could be on the wind and down into flowers with even quite deep bells.

    [True. I once knew a girl named Candida.]

  8. kvd
    Posted February 26, 2011 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Well I won’t rise to that challenge. Sounds like the start of a good limerick.

  9. Posted February 26, 2011 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    [email protected], [email protected]

    I once knew a girl named Candida,
    To be frank it’s less crap than Melaena,
    Which sounds nice when it’s heard,
    If you don’t know the word,
    If you do, then it couldn’t be meaner.

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