Winning Photographs Taken Through the Microscope to Arrive at Wistar

Winning Photographs Taken Through the Microscope to Arrive at Wistar

December 7, 2006

(PHILADELPHIA – December 8, 2006) – In science, discoveries depend on the power of the tools available to the investigator. Advanced telescopes reveal the secrets of deep space to astronomers, for example. Similarly for biologists, ever more sophisticated microscopes open new windows on the intricate structures and subtle processes of life, leading to scientific discovery and medical progress.

Nikon’s annual Small World competition, now in its 32nd year, celebrates the complexity and beauty of the world as captured in photographs taken through the microscope. On January 12, 2007, the 20 winning images from the contest, combining originality, informational content, technical proficiency, and visual impact, will arrive at The Wistar Institute, 3601 Spruce Street, for a seven-week stay. The exhibition will be in the Institute's Atrium.

An invitation-only reception at 6:30 p.m. that evening, sponsored by Nikon Instruments dealer Optical Apparatus Inc., of Ardmore, PA, will welcome the exhibition to Wistar. From Monday, January 15, through Friday, March 2, the exhibition will be open to the public at no charge. Hours for the exhibition are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

During the run of the exhibit, guided tours of the exhibition will be available to area science teachers and their students by special arrangement. James E. Hayden, manager of Wistar’s Microscopy Facility and a previous winner and judge for the Small World competition, will lead the tours, providing an overview of the role microscopes play in biological research at Wistar today and explaining how selected photographs from the exhibit were made and the biological significance of their subjects. (Teachers can arrange a tour by contacting Franklin Hoke at 215-898-3716 or

“The hardest thing to remember when examining the images in this exhibit is that the subject matter is real – not some fantasy artist’s interpretation of an unknown universe,” says Hayden, who is also coordinator of the exhibition at Wistar. “These amazing views of life and the physical world have as much value to the research scientist as they do to the 3rd grade art student studying patterns and colors. It is this unique juxtaposition that the exhibit is ultimately about; seeing rare beauty and art at the cutting edge of science.”

“Nikon’s Small World gives us a glimpse into a world that few people ever see,” according to Lee Shuett, executive vice president of Nikon Instruments. “With today’s digital imaging capability, we can not only see the smallest objects, we can also study how different objects interact and change over time. Never before in human history have we had this powerful imaging capability to see and analyze so much information about human biology.”

The Nikon Small World contest was founded in 1974 to recognize excellence in photography through the microscope. Each year, Nikon makes the winning images accessible to the public through the Nikon Small World calendar, a national museum tour, and an electronic gallery featured at

EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution versions of the 20 winning images, suitable for print publication, are available from The Wistar Institute’s public relations office or from Nikon directly.

The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research, with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. Discoveries at Wistar have led to the creation of the rubella vaccine that eradicated the disease in the U.S., rabies vaccines used worldwide, and a new rotavirus vaccine approved in 2006. Wistar scientists have also identified many cancer genes and developed monoclonal antibodies and other important research tools. Today, Wistar is home to eminent melanoma researchers and pioneering scientists working on experimental vaccines against flu, HIV, and other diseases. The Institute works actively to transfer its inventions to the commercial sector to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. The Wistar Institute: Today’s Discoveries – Tomorrow’s Cures. On the web at