Is That a Martian Landscape or a Cancer Drug?

Is That a Martian Landscape or a Cancer Drug?

January 8, 2009

(PHILADELPHIA – January 9, 2009) –The Wistar Institute today launches the 34th annual Nikon Small World exhibition of visually stunning photographs taken through the microscope. An image produced in Wistar’s microscopy facility earned honorable mention as an “Image of Distinction” in this year’s competition, and is included in Wistar’s exhibit.

The Nikon Small World competition celebrates the complexity and beauty of the world as captured in photographs taken through the microscope. The winning images combine originality, informational content, technical proficiency, and visual impact. Specimens in this year’s exhibit reflect a range of subjects including lily of the valley, Japanese specialty paper, a micro leaf beetle, recrystallized vitamin C, and more. The exhibit is arranged in groups according photographic technique, educating visitors about how each image was created. 

At Wistar, advanced microscopes open new windows on the intricate structures and subtle processes of life, capturing the complexity and beauty of the natural world and leading to scientific discovery and medical progress. The Wistar Institute is the only local host of this national exhibit of 20 winning images in Nikon’s international photomicrography competition. The exhibit is open free to the public January 12 through March 13, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 3601 Spruce Street, University City.

During the run of the exhibit, guided tours will be available to science teachers and their students by special arrangement. James E. Hayden, manager of Wistar’s microscopy facility and a previous winner and judge of the Small World competition, will lead the tours, providing an overview of the role of microscopes in biological research at Wistar and explaining how selected photographs from the exhibit were made, as well as the biological significance of their subjects. (Teachers can arrange a tour by contacting Lee Shurtz at 215-898-3790 or Hayden’s image of common thrips (Thripidae) taken at 40X magnification with fluorescence earned recognition as an “Image of Distinction” in the 2008 contest.

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

Editors note: A high-resolution copy of Wistar’s “Image of Distinction” is available upon request.

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. The Institute works actively 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