Vanderbilt graduate student Jonas King has won first place in Nikon’s "Small World" photomicrography competition, beating out 2,200 images from around the not-so-small world.
It's a fluorescent picture of the heart of the anopheles gambiae mosquito, the pest that spreads malaria, afflicting a sizable cohort of humanity every year.
King’s image was judged the best for its combination of aesthetic beauty, scientific relevance and the technical difficulty involved in capturing it, Vanderbilt says.
"Surprisingly little is known about the mosquito’s circulatory system despite the key role that it plays in spreading the malaria parasite,” says Julian Hillyer, who runs the research lab in which King's photo was taken.
Magnified 100 times, the image shows the tubelike heart of the mosquito, surrounded by helical coils of muscle.
King's photo is beautiful and incredible, and so are all 120 images in Nikon's slide show of winners. According to the company, the grand prize is $3,000 toward Nikon equipment.