The Most Amazing Images from the National Science Photography Competition
The votes are in, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is ready to announce the winners of their national science photography competition. For the EPSRC competition's second year, there were 150 entries, all photographs of research currently in progress from scientists who have been granted funding from the organization.
"This competition and these truly inspirational images are a great way for us to engage with academics, connect the general public with research they fund, and inspire everyone to take an interest in science and engineering," said EPSRC Chief Executive Philip Nelson.
Here are the most stunning images from the winners, starting with the sole winner of the overall prize:
March of the Triffids - Paul May
This image of carbon nanotubes was taken with an electron microscope, with a false color scheme used to make the microscopic phenomenon resemble foliage, specifically, the titular antagonist in John Wyndham's 1951 sci-fi novel The Day of the Triffids.
"I tried several different false-colour schemes in Photoshop, and when I tried green the tepee structures immediately reminded me of triffids, and hundreds of them together looked like an army on the march - hence the title," said May.
Newton's Rings – James Keaveney
"The colourful rings in this picture have been created as a result of two light waves overlapping each other between two windows of super-polished sapphire glass. This forms an 'interference pattern' known as Newton's Rings. The same effect happens when water is covered with a thin film of oil."
The Greatest Discovery - Patricia Shaw
"The iCub humanoid robot at Aberystwyth University is taking inspiration from the development of infants to learn how to move and interact with its surroundings. Starting from data based on behaviour in the womb, the iCub follows the early stages of infant development to be able to learn the coordination between sensors and motors, building up the levels of skills and understanding. This project is exploring the growth of human behaviour in order to produce methods for self-motivated learning robots."
A Julia Set – Rob Hocking
"A Julia Set is a mathematical object discovered independently by Gaston Julia and Pierre Fatou at the end of World War I. Typically two-dimensional, Julia Sets have long been known to possess a number of exotic properties, including never-ending fractal edges – like a coastline seen from space. As you zoom in closer, the shoreline reveals new details until they become infinitesimally small. Similarly, Julia Sets go on forever. It is also possible to define three dimensional Julia sets possessing infinitely wiggly fractal surfaces."
All fall down, we all fall down – Jonathan Rickard
"Thin films are ubiquitous, both in nature and in the man-made world. When we blink, tears form a film which spreads over the eye, making the surface smooth and optically clear and enabling good vision... University of Birmingham researchers are exploring an alternative way to form thin-film-based structures by using strong electric fields, which induce electrohydrodynamic (EHD) instabilities.
"This image demonstrates the characteristic pillars generated using EHD patterning. Note that one of the pillars has snapped and fallen down at the final experimental stage, so will need further optimization."
Animating a brain in a jar – Patrick Brundell
"On Halloween 2014 Thrill Laboratory presented the live public broadcast of an experiment created to reveal the effect of horror films on the human brain. A subject's real-time neurological data was monitored, interpreted, and streamed online for viewer interaction. Data was also projected for the cinema audience, and used to animate a brain-in-a-jar."
A section through the socket of a human hip – Rachel Pallan
"We are a nation intrigued by body image, but do we really know what we look like on the inside? This is a section through the socket of a human hip joint showing multiple tissues merging and working together. Different types of collagen at different stages of formation can be seen in the exterior soft tissues, while porous bone provides structure in the bottom of the image."
London's "Mail Rail" – Phil Catton
"A PhD candidate prepares some monitoring equipment before it is installed in an abandoned tunnel."
Targeting Creativity – Evan Morgan
"This photo shows a pianist playing a keyboard whilst wearing a pair of eye tracking glasses. He is part of a duet, who are creating an improvised accompaniment to a short animation. The target on the side of the glasses allows us to automatically detect when the other musician (a drummer) is glancing at the pianist. We then use a simple light display to inform the pianist that he is being looked at."
New crystallization techniques – Sahir Khurshid
"The image shows a crystal of a crucial component of the human immune system, known as a macrophage migration inhibitory factor, which is produced by the pituitary gland and various types of cell. The crystal was grown by Sahir Khurshid and Lata Govada using a nucleating agent they designed and custom-built using a kind of gel provided by the University of Surrey."