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This photograph won third place in the 2008 Small World Photomicrography Competition, sponsored by Nikon:

Albert Tousson of the University of Alabama was recently testing a new laser microscope in his lab and put a petal of a lily of the valley under the lens, which magnified the petal 1,300 times... The enhanced color of the petal's red cell walls and green and yellow starch granules comes from the laser light, which causes molecules within these substances to fluoresce--the same phenomenon that gives objects under black lights an eerie glow.

The winner, Diatom Rainbows, from a microscopic image of algae is after the jump. Full results here.

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Mark Anderson writes:

Sinewy filaments within squirming microscopic diatoms, a type of algae, are artificially rainbow hued as a result of being photographed through polarizing light filters.

Captured by retired British microscopist Michael Stringer, the photo took top prize--and U.S. $3,000--in the 2008 Small World Photomicrography Competition, organizers announced on October 15. Sponsored by Nikon, the annual contest showcases "the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope."

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