The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has recently announced the winners of its science photography prize. There were entrants from around the world. Prizes were awarded in several different categories along with one overall winner.
The overall winner of the contest was David Nadlinger who is currently studying at Oxford University. His winning photograph was entitled, “Single Atom in an Ion Trap.” Mr. Nadlinger’s photo is quite amazing in that it captured an atom allowing it to be viewed by the naked eye without special microscopic aids.
Mr. Nadlinger captured the image using a DSLR camera that utilized a special lens designed to provide extremely close views of objects. He placed the camera near the window of a vacuum chamber. Within the chamber there were two electrodes. The electrodes trapped a strontium atom between them, and then light from a laser was used to illuminate the suspended atom.
In the contest’s Eureka and Discovery category, a student from Imperial College of London named Li Shen took home top honors. Li Shen was able to photograph the microscopic construction of the interior of a soap bubble. This photograph has stunning colors in a variety of purple, yellow and blue shades.
Another Imperial College of London student, Bernice Akpinar, won first prize in the contest’s Weird and Wonderful category. Ms. Akpinar was able to photograph the structure of a butterfly wing. The photo shows the wing’s lattice structure and how the interwoven pattern produces color in the wing.
Finally, Estelle Beguin won first prize in the Innovation category. She was able to take a photo of a micro-encapsulated bubble. These bubbles are often used as a means of drug delivery.