Wild Science Videos and Photos: Best of 2011

This 3D simulation of a surface of a microchip won one of the many science photo contests of 2011. Check out this story for some of the most breathtaking images we found online. Beautiful. Happy holidays!

Every year we journalists compile various best of lists. It’s part of the job description. But this best-of list, I must say, is a cut above. It’s a collection of the best science photos and videos of the year.

Special thanks to the science labs and publications who produce and honor such rich media creation, including   Wellcome Labs, National Geographic, The University of Aberdeen, Science, The New Scientist, the Nikon Small World image contest and others who posted collections of science photos and videos in 2011.

First, check out this microscopic, cellular wreath. A 2011 Nikon winner, this image portrays a wreath made of stained proteins and organelles. Designed and captured by Dr. Donna Stolz at the University of Pittsburgh.

Photo Courtesy: Nikon Small World

I loved all the top Nikon winners, but this one really stood out for me. Alfred Pasieka of Germany created this 3D reconstruction of a microchip’s surface to win sixth place.

Photo credit: Nikon Small World and Alfred Pasieka.

Wellcome Laboratories, in the UK, just awarded the following computer simulation as a top image this year. It shows synthesized pyramidal neurons — indistinguishable, scientists Michael Haeusser and Hermann Cuntz, from those found in a real brain. Pyramid-shaped neurons, with their long dendrites, are located in mammalian forebrains and are probably involved in cognitive function, researchers say. Check them out!

Photo courtesy: Wellcome

Here in the U.S., National Geographic chose the following image as the grand prize winner of its 2011 photo contest. You are looking at rain splattering on a dragonfly, somewhere in the Riau Islands of Indonesia.

Photo credit: National Geographic and Shikhei Goh

Another Wellcome UK 2011 image is below — this is a microscopic view of the scales on an endangered Madagascan moon moth. The moth was bred in captivity at the Natural History Centre at the University of Aberdeen. Kevin Mackenzie captured this image shortly after this moth died a natural death.

Photo credit: Wellcome

This year at the Imagine Science Film Festival (ISFF) in New York, some great science shorts playing. Following are two ISFF 2011 winners. The first is a stop-motion animation about one man’s existential struggle with aging.

Credit: ISFF

The Eagleman Stag – Trailer from Mikey Please on Vimeo.

The second spotlights Arctic biologists and gorgeous tundra swans.

Credit: ISFF

Updated: 12:29 PM pt Dec. 23, 2010

WISE — that’s NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer today shows a brand new of Barnard 3, or IRAS Ring G159.6-18.

Credit: NASA Images