Photo Contest Celebrates the Scientific Wonders of Earth and Beyond

Science photo competition

The winner of the Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition has been announced with a hidden microscopic world on an autumnal leaf taking home the top prize.

The competition aims to celebrate and showcase the power photography has to convey scientific phenomena that takes place all around us.

This year there were five categories: Astronomy, Behavior, Earth Science and Climatology, Ecology and Environmental Science, and Microimaging. Each group winner receives £500 ($629) with the grand prize of £1,000 ($1,258).

Martian landscape
Martian Landscape by Irina Petrova Adamatzky, the overall winner and winner of the Ecology category. A microorganism called Lamproderma scintillans on an autumnal leaf in the U.K.

The overall winner (above) was taken by Irina Petrova Adamtzky who researches the electrical activity of fungi, slime moulds, and other microorganisms.

“I unintentionally captured this scene while collecting samples of slime moulds in a field near my home in Somerset,” Adamatzky says.

“I noticed them the evening before and had intended to gather samples to measure their electrical activity for our research. However, my attention was diverted by a simple autumn leaf that, although seemingly ordinary, held something intriguing within. I gathered it, along with my samples, and the following day I was amazed to discover what appeared to be another world within the confines of that unassuming leaf.”

Snake fight
Ssstandoff by Dr. Gregory Funston, runner up in the Behaviour category. While digging for dinosaurs in southern Alberta, Canada, Dr. Funston witnessed this tussle between two prairie rattlesnakes.
flower moon
Flower Moon on a cloudy night by Mr. Imran Sultan, runner up in the Astronomy category. Shot from the Chicago suburbs, this HDR composite of two images was stacked together.
Post-war chamois by Filippo Carugati, runner up in the Ecology category. A camouflaged World War II bunker in the Western Alps.
coral reef
Star of the Night by Dr. Tom Shlesinger winner of the Ecology category. A school of small fish above a coral reef.
The Western Veil Nebula by Mr. Imran Sultan, winner of the Astronomy category. About 10,000-20,000 years ago, a star much more massive than the Sun exploded in a supernova. The result was the Veil Nebula, a magnificent supernova remnant found in the Cygnus constellation. Despite being over 2,000 light years away, the angular size of the Veil in our sky is several times larger than the Moon. Shot from the Chicago suburbs, the picture is a stack of 52 individual 300-second sub-exposures.
Nightly Elevator by Dr. Tom Shlesinger, winner of the Behaviour category. When night falls in the ocean, strange organisms living in the deep sea travel vertically toward the surface; this fish is hitching a ride on a jellyfish.
crack in time
A Crack in Time by Dr. Chia-Hsin (Wendy) Tsai, winner of the Earth Science category. An outcrop of the Corinth Canal in Greece, the picture shows “normal faults within extensional tectonics setting.
beacon crystals
Beacon of Cystals in a Wild Forest by Shyam Ulhas, runner up in the Microimaging category. Micro crystals of two chemical combinations: Beta Alanine and L Glutamine. The image is less than 1mm on the longest side.
Burning through the Frozen South by Professor Michael Meredith, runner up in the Earth Science category. Fiery Sunset in Antarctica.

The Royal Society Publishing photo competition was launched in 2015 to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the oldest continual scientific journal in the world. The Royal Society, based in the U.K., is a self-governing fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. Head to its website for more.