If you've never thought of frog embryos as a thing of art and beauty, then you've yet to check out the image captured by University of Colorado biology professor Mike Klymkowsky in the course of his research. That photo took seventh place in the 2007 Nikon Small World Photomicrography competition and has since been traveling the country with the Nikon Small World exhibit, currently on display at CU-Boulder's Fiske Planetarium.
For more than thirty years, Small World has been the leading forum for showcasing art under the microscope. This is the first year the exhibit has come to the planetarium, and education programs manager Suzanne Traub-Metlay couldn't be more thrilled. "The images are all visually stunning," she says. "Everything's smaller than a bubble of water. It's just wild, because this is what science is. These images were all taken during the course of scientific research. Any manipulation wasn't done for the sake of art. It was done to make the structure easier for the scientist to see, but it's beautiful; it's amazing. For us to enjoy it with our intellectual and aesthetic senses fully on is really exciting."
For the planetarium, which is interested in astrobiology, or the possibility of life beyond Earth, the images also impart a greater meaning: "It gives us a wonderful 'what if,'" says Traub-Metlay. "What if there is life beyond Earth microbial life? What would that look like?"
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