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Nikon Small World: An Up-close Look at the Unseen World

PHILADELPHIA — (Dec. 13, 2018) — Are we looking at the masked exoskeleton of cinema’s latest superhero, a firework and an amoeba? No, these images are the eye of a beetle, the central region of the retina and a single human tear, and each of them represent just three of the captivating images from the 2018 Nikon Small World competition of photomicrography. These photographs taken through microscopes will be on display at The Wistar Institute, with an opening reception on Jan. 18, 2019.

At Wistar, researchers look through microscopes and hypothesize over microscopic images with the goal of advancing cancer and infectious disease research to develop future therapeutics. Winning photographers this year are both scientists and artists possessing the consummate skill, scientific discipline and creativity for which the Nikon Small World competition is known. Small World spans 44 years as a leading, global competition for photomicrography. This year’s images were chosen from more than 2,500 entries from 89 countries. Wistar has been hosting the exhibit for more than 15 years.

Opportunities at Wistar’s opening reception include:

  • Top 20 honoree images will be on view.
  • A feature wall of 15 high-definition TV screens that projects all 2018 Nikon Small World in Motion winners and Photomicrography Competition winners.
  • A hands-on microscope demonstration by Wistar scientists.
  • A self-guided tour of cell photographs created by Wistar scientists and other pieces of Wistar history.
  • And brief talks from Image of Distinction awardee James E. Hayden, Wistar Imaging Facility managing director; 7th place winner Norm Barker, professor of pathology & art as applied to medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Image of Distinction awardee Michael Much; and Nikon Instruments Inc. communications manager Eric Flem.

From Jan. 21 through April 5, 2019, the top-20 images will be on view at Wistar and the exhibit is FREE to the public. The Wistar Institute is the only Pennsylvania venue to host these remarkable works of art.


The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer and infectious disease research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, Wistar has held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute since 1972. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible.

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