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Researchers capture the beauty of science in unique works of art

Fluorescent tissue cells, zebrafish and neuronal cells in the brain are just some of a selection of winning images inspired by complex scientific procedures that help bring the medical sciences to life for this year’s Art of Science Competition.

At first glance, some of these images look like unusual abstracts but they are in fact unique works of art produced by scientists who were challenged to capture the aesthetic beauty of their research for the University of Bristol-led competition.

The challenge aimed to encourage scientists to make their work more accessible to the public, and to appreciate the beauty behind the research they undertake every day, from fantastic fluorescent images of cells to photography of science in action within the laboratory.

Judged from over 100 entries, the winning photographs range from brightly-coloured snapshots of tissue cells used in neuroscience studies to a close-up of an ant antenna. Alongside these research images are photography of ‘science in action’ in the laboratory, from the perspective of the researcher and their ‘native’ environment.

The twelve winning entries will be displayed in an exhibition from today [5 December] at the At-Bristol café and will be made into a 2012 Calendar.

Becky Jones, from the University’s School of Biochemistry has organised the Art of Science competition, which is open to all researchers in the medical and veterinary sciences, for the last two years, with support form Rob Nunan.

Becky Jones said: “The researchers were asked to look for aesthetic beauty in their experimental work. The competition was for the entries to be as innovative as possible whilst retaining a scientific or instructive message. The calibre of entries was extremely high and we were delighted that researchers rose to the challenge.

“This year’s competition was the most successful to date, attracting support from Wellcome Images, an international leader in science images, who wish to acquire 34 of the entries to their science picture archive.” 

The winning works were judged and selected according to their scientific and artistic content by Catherine Draycott, Head of the Wellcome Images at the Wellcome Trust, Jessica Rolls, Programme Coordinator at the Arnolfini, Professor Mervyn Miles, Head of Nanoscience from the University’s School of Physics and Dr Kristy Manning from Fisher Scientific.

Photographic prints and calendars featuring the winning images will be available for purchase by contacting Rebecca Jones, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.