These images were singled out in past years in the GE Healthcare Cell Imaging Competition. Entries for the 2013 competition are being accepted through October 15th, so stay tuned for another showcase of beautiful cells from researchers around the world. In the meantime, click through the photos to learn more about how each image was sequenced.
"Draw what you see." This most basic of lessons tends to apply obviously to the macroscopic, the forms that we can see with the unassisted human eye. In the visualization of microscopic subjects, we often rely on loose approximations or vague indications of the actual object’s appearance. My search for science-based artists uncovers many who claim only a scientific aesthetic, an image simply reminiscent of some scientific phenomenon, but symbolic of something else entirely.
Anything with a diameter less than about half a micrometre cannot be seen, even with the help of a light microscope—the wavelengths of light in the visible spectrum dwarf that distance. Goodsell uses data from atomic structure analysis, electron microscopy, and biochemical analysis to portray an accurate number, size, shape, and placement of molecules. This diligence combined with his brilliant sense of color and design results in informative and beautiful ink and watercolor art that provides a very literal look into the complex cores of our beings.
Images: Scanning electron micrographs (SEM) of mitochondria
Most people know it as the powerhouse of the cell, or where most of a cell’s ATP (the chemical currency of cells) is made. Most cells will have one or two of these structures within them, but depending on what the cell’s job is can impact directly the amount of mitochondria it contains.
The inner mitochondrial membrane is the location of the electron transport chain. Here, a system of proteins undergo a series of redox reactions which allow a proton gradient to be formed. Due to the chemiosmotic effect, the power of this gradient can be harnessed by proteins by allowing a stead flow of protons down the gradient, in which ATP is formed.
There is a substantial amount of evidence that suggests mitochondria were originally a species of free ancient-bacteria that were engulfed by early cells. This was suggested as they have their own DNA and replicate independently of the host as well as their outer membranes resembling more eukaryotic membranes, while the inner membrane resembles a bacterial membrane.
Capillary Net of an Alveolus showing the erythrocytes within the blood vessels.
CREDIT: Oliver Meckes (viaFEI) Scanning Electron Microscope Magnification: 1800x
Alveolus Alveolus (plural: alveoli) is from the Latin word for “little cavity” and refers to an anatomical structure that has the form of a hollow cavity.
Found in the lungs, the pulmonary alveoli are the terminal ends of the respiratory tree, which outcrop from either alveolar sacs or alveolar ducts, which are both sites of gas exchange with the blood as well.
Alveoli are particular to mammalian lungs. Different structures are involved in gas exchange in other vertebrates [X]
This picture reveals thick clumps of dust silhouetted against the pink glowing gas cloud known to astronomers as IC 2944. These opaque blobs resemble drops of ink floating in a strawberry cocktail, their whimsical shapes sculpted by powerful radiation coming from the nearby brilliant young stars.
The faint green glow you see in that picture is not an early harbringer of Hallowe’en spooks. It’s hydrogen gas clouds found recently nearby W26, a future supernova in the star cluster Westerlund 1.
Image:A “super star cluster”, Westerlund 1, which is about 16,000 light-years from Earth. It can be found in the southern constellation of Ara. The picture was taken from the European Southern Observatory’s VLT Survey Telescope.Credit:ESO/VPHAS+ Survey/N. Wright
The European Southern Observatory’s VLT Survey Telescope in Chile spotted the hydrogen in the cluster, which has hundreds of huge stars that are only believed to be a few million years old. (Our solar system, by comparison, is about 4.5 billion years old.)
“Such glowing clouds around massive stars are very rare, and are even rarer around a red supergiant— this is the first ionised nebula discovered around such a star,” the European Southern Observatory stated.
“W26 itself would be too cool to make the gas glow; the astronomers speculate that the source of the ionizing radiation may be either hot blue stars elsewhere in the cluster, or possibly a fainter, but much hotter, companion star to W26.”
Funny enough, the nebula that surrounds the red supergiant is similar to the one surrounding SN1987A, a star that exploded as a fairly bright supernova in 1987. “Studying objects like this new nebula around W26 will help astronomers to understand the mass loss processes around these massive stars, which eventually lead to their explosive demise,” ESO added.