22 Glorious Photos That Prove Science Isn't Just For Dweebs

These photos celebrate the majesty of science and medicine.
IMAGE Mark R. Smith

You can always trust the Wellcome Images Awards to provide some eye-bathingly beautiful photographic goodness year-on-year.

In case you don't know, the WIA celebrates images of science and medicine which manage to capture the stunning reality of life on Earth.

Brain on a Chip

By Collin Edington and Iris Lee, © Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Here, researchers are investigating how neural stem cells grow on a synthetic gel called PEG. After just two weeks, the stem cells (magenta) produced nerve fibers (green)."


Blood Vessels of the African Gray Parrot

By Scott Birch and Scott Echols

"This image shows a 3D reconstruction of an African grey parrot, post euthanasia."



*BreastCancer Twitter Connections

By Eric Clarke, Richard Arnett and Jane Burns, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

"This is a graphical visualization of data extracted from tweets containing the hashtag #breastcancer."


Zebrafish Eye and Neuromasts

By Ingrid Lekk and Steve Wilson, University College London

"This fish's nervous system has also been labelled for study, and is shown in bluish-green."

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Two Young Boys in Rural Nicaragua

By Joshua McDonald

"The two boys were reluctant to speak to the photojournalist in case it jeopardized their chances of working in the sugarcane fields, which are partly responsible for the chronic kidney disease that affects more than half of the adult population in Nicaragua, Central America."


Synthetic DNA Channels Transporting Cargo Across Membranes

By Michael Northrop

"These DNA nanostructures are currently being engineered for use in vaccines, biofuels and biosensors and as research tools."



Stickman–The Vicissitudes of Crohn's (Resolution)

By Spooky Pooka

"This image is part of a series called Stickman–The Vicissitudes of Crohn's. Its images are based around the character Stickman, a proxy or alter ego of the artist, who suffers from Crohn's disease. "


Patient Receiving Treatment During Outreach Eye Screening in India

By Susan Smart

"A patient being treated by an eye doctor at a makeshift eye clinic in India. This image was taken while Susan, the photographer, was volunteering for the charity Unite For Sight."



Microrna Scaffold Cancer Therapy

By Joao Conde, Nuria Oliva, and Natalie Artzi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

"Short genetic sequences called microRNAs, which control the proper function and growth of cells, are being investigated by researchers as a possible cancer therapy."


Language Pathways of The Brain

By Stephanie J Forkel and Ahmad Beyh, Natbrainlab, King's College London; Alfonso De Lara Rubio, King's College London

"This image shows a 3D-printed reconstruction of the white matter pathway connecting  two areas of the brain (here shown from the left) which is called the arcuate fasciculus."



Intraocular Lens 'Iris Clip'

By Mark Bartley, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

"This image shows how an 'iris clip', also known as an artificial intraocular lens (IOL), is fitted onto the eye. An iris clip is a small, thin lens made from silicone or acrylic material, and has plastic side supports, called haptics, to hold it in place."


Hawaiian Bobtail Squid

By Mark R Smith, Macroscopic Solutions

"Native to the Pacific Ocean, Hawaiian bobtail squid are nocturnal predators that remain buried under the sand during the day and come out to hunt for shrimp near coral reefs at night."



Gabriel Galea, University College London

By Gabriel Galea, University College London

"Our spines allow us to stand and move, and they protect the spinal cord, which connects all the nerves in our body with our brain. The spinal cord is formed from a structure called the neural tube, which develops during the first month of pregnancy. This series of three images shows the open end of a mouse's neural tube, with each image highlighting (in blue) one of the three main embryonic tissue types."


Cat Skin and Blood Supply

By David Linstead

"A polarized light micrograph of a section of cat skin, showing hairs, whiskers and their blood supply."



Rita Levi-Montalcini

By Daria Kirpach/Salzman International

"Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909–2012) was an Italian neurobiologist and the joint recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF). Rita graduated in medicine in 1936, but due to Mussolini's 1938 Manifesto of Race, which barred non-Aryan citizens from having academic careers, was forced to build a small laboratory in the family home and work in secret."


Pigeon Thermoregulation

By Scott Echols, Scarlet Imaging and the Grey Parrot Anatomy Project

"The intricate network of blood vessels in this pigeon's neck is just visible at the bottom of the picture. This extensive blood supply just below the skin helps the pigeon control its body temperature through a process known as thermoregulation."



Vessels of a Healthy Mini Pig Eye

By Peter M. Macola, Octlab at the University of Basel and Moorfields Eye hospital, London; Christian Schwaller; Ruslan Hlushchuk, University of Bern; Sebastien Barre

"A 3D model of a healthy mini-pig eye. The dent on the right-hand side of the image is the pupil, the opening that allows light into the eye. The blood vessels shown are bringing energy and food to the muscles surrounding the iris, which controls the amount of light entering the eye."


Caricatural Medieval Medical Practicioners

By Madeleine Kuijper, Madeleine Kuijper Illustraties

"These scenes are inspired by works from medieval artists and the 15th-century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. The scenes are separated by Asclepian snakes, representing both Asclepius–the ancient Greek god of medicine–and the modern-day symbol for medicine."



The Placenta Rainbow

By Suchita Nadkarni, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London

"The Placenta Rainbow highlights differences in mouse placental development that can result from manipulation of the mother's immune system. These placentas were investigated at day 12 of the 20-day gestation period–the point at which a mouse's placenta has gained its characteristic shape but is still developing."


Unraveled DNA in a Human Lung Cell

By Ezequiel Miron, University of Oxford

"The DNA in this cell has somehow become caught, and is being pulled between the two cells. This has caused the DNA to unfold inside the nucleus, and DNA fibres can be seen running through it."



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* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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