A mechanical heart pump, as revealed by a dual energy tomography angiography of a human chest.

The annual award celebrates the intersection of science and art, reminding us that the best visual inspiration often comes from the shocking beauty of the natural world. Here, an SEM image of the photographer's own kidney stone (2mm wide), colorized to resemble a turquoise alien planet.

An image of an Arabidopsis thaliana flower, commonly known as thale cress.

A colorized micrograph of an agricultural sludge sample after burning in an oxygen atmosphere.

A photograph of Astrantia major, Hadspen Blood, a flower commonly known as Red Masterwort.

A bird's-eye view of a model of a medieval child's mandible, captured using a micro CT scanner.

A colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a head louse egg attached to a strand of human hair.

A colorized SEM of a zebrafish embryo.

An X-ray of a brown long-eared bat, killed by a cat.

A computed tomography scan of a seal's head, created with a 3-D volume rendering technique, which makes the skeleton appear opaque and the soft tissues semi-translucent, revealing the skull.

Photograph of a deer tick embedded in a man’s skin. "After looking in my garden pond for signs of life," the photographer said, "I went for an early morning swim and noticed a black protrusion on my leg. I tried brushing it off a couple of times but it did not move." He then photographed the tick "with a 105mm micro Nikkor lens which enabled me to see the details of what was sticking out of my leg." He then visited the hospital, where they dug the insect out.

Some of these images could be mistaken for human-made artworks: oxidized Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) crystals resemble a tapestry in gold thread.

A cross section of a stained lily bud showing the male and female reproductive organs resembles a painted mandala.

A healthy adult brain. My, what lovely nerve fibers you have!

Breast cancer cells treated with nano sized drug carriers. The images will be added to Wellcome's vast collection of more than 40,000 science images, culled from researchers, clinical photographers, and illustrators, which are available freely to the public here.

An image of a Lagena, a class of marine protists with an external shell, made using ‘Spikeberg’ illumination, a combination of polarised light and Rheinberg illumination pioneered by the photographer, and captured on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera.

Co.Design

18 Mind-Blowing Images From The World Of Science

The Wellcome Image Award winner was announced today: a vivid picture of a mechanical heart pump inside a patient's chest. See the 17 runners-up, from zebrafish embryos to X-rayed bats and medieval human mandibles.

The winner of the 2014 Wellcome Image Award has just been announced: a vivid picture of a mechanical heart pump inside a patient's chest.

The annual award celebrates the intersection of science and art, reminding us that the best visual inspiration often comes from the shocking beauty of the natural world. There were some doozies on the shortlist of 18 entries vying for this year’s prize: a bird’s-eye view of a medieval child’s mandible; a deer tick grotesquely embedded in a man’s leg; and a photographer’s own kidney stone, colorized to resemble a turquoise alien planet.

Some of these images could be mistaken for human-made artworks. In one, oxidized vitamin C crystals under a microscope resemble a tapestry in gold thread; in another, a cross-section of a lily bud looks like a painted mandala. Throughout history, some of the most ingenious designs in technology and art have stemmed from mimicking naturally selected patterns and structures--whether it’s the Wright brothers' study of birds in flight or this new concept for a battery inspired by a pomegranate.

Photo by Eberhardt Josué Friedrich Kernahan and Enrique Rodríguez Cañas

The images will be added to Wellcome's vast collection of more than 40,000 science images, culled from researchers, clinical photographers, and illustrators, which are available freely to the public here.

The winning submissions will be on display starting March 12 in simultaneous exhibitions at the Wellcome Trust’s headquarters in London, Glasgow Science Centre, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, Techniquest in Cardiff, and W5 in Belfast.

[Photo by Annie Cavanagh]

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4 Comments

  • Malcom Chakery

    If you go to the Perot Museum in Dallas you will find the best of both worlds science but in an art form.

  • Kevin Dann

    The biomimicry reference seems rather a stretch – a superficial resemblance rather than actual design inspiration from Nature. This is meant not as a critique of the writer's phrasing, but a comment on the current fashion for biomimetic attribution. I have just read the press release from the National Accelerator Laboratory, and there is nothing in the researcher's comments that suggests anything more than an after-the-fact analogue.