PHOTOS: Best Pictures of Microscopic Life, 2008

PHOTOS: Best Pictures of Microscopic Life, 2008
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Third Prize: Eye-Opening Algae

This micrograph by Montana psychiatrist Stephen Nagy magnifies, by 40 times, a 20-million-year-old fossil of an extinct breed of algae.

Nagy dug up samples of this microscopic diatom in Maryland, then carefully sliced one open like a tiny pomegranate. Using a specialized microscope that uses different colors to represent depth and density, Nagy took five images and stacked them atop one another.

"Diatoms are used as industrial filtering material, as test objects for microscope lenses, as fine abrasive material in toothpaste and other polishing agents, and as art forms," Nagy said in a press statement. "They can be made into arrangements of extraordinary beauty."
—Picture by Stephen Nagy, courtesy 2008 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition
 
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