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Tiny Grandeur: Stunning Photos of the Very Small

Ant Attack!

2011 Nikon Small World contest honors scary ant.

(Image credit: Dr. Jan Michels Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Kiel, Germany )

Eeeek! A fluorescing ant head/horror movie monster took 11th place in the Nikon Small World contest.

HeLa Cell Dance

Henrietta Lacks (HeLa) cell photo takes 12th in Nikon Small World competition

(Image credit: Thomas Deerinck National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research La Jolla, California, USA )

This colorful image of cancer cells took 12th place in the 2011 Nikon competition. These HeLa cells are the descendants of a seemingly immortal cancer cell line taken from the cervix of Henrietta Lacks, a black woman born in Virginia who died of her disease in 1951, never knowing how important her cells would become to medicine.

Pink Triangle

13th place in the 2011 Small World Nikon competition.

(Image credit: Dr. Stephen S. Nagy Montana Diatoms Helena, Montana, USA )

A curare vine (Chondrodendron tomentosum) in cross-section took 13th place in the Nikon competition.

In a Grain of Sand

Grains of sand win 14th in Nikon Small World contest 2011.

(Image credit: Yanping Wang Beijing Planetarium Beijing, China )

Bet you didn't know how shapely sand could be. These grains took 14th place in the 2011 Nikon Small World contest.

Coral Color

Lobe coral wins 15th place in the Nikon Small World competition 2011.

(Image credit: James H. Nicholson Coral Culture and Collaborative Research Facility, NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CCEHBR & HML Charleston, South Carolina, USA )

No, this is not a rip in the fabric of space-time. This is a close-up look at a lobe coral's pigmentation response.

Scaffold of Life

Cultured cells take 16th place in 2011 Nikon Small World contest.

(Image credit: Dr. Christopher Guérin VIB (Flanders Institute of Biotechnology) Ghent, Belgium )

Cultured cells grow on a bio-polymer scaffold in the 16th place winner of the 2011 Nikon Small World contest.

Earworms

Nikon Small World 2011

(Image credit: Dr. Witold Kilarski, EPFL-Laboratory of Lymphatic and Cancer, Lausanne, Switzerland )

Filaria worms lurk inside lymphatic vessels in a mouse's ear. This shudder-worthy image took 17th place in the 2011 Nikon Small World competition.

Quaking Lace

Aspen leaf takes 18th place in Nikon contest.

(Image credit: Benjamin Blonder, David Elliott University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona, USA )

The delicate veins of a quaking aspen leaf, magnified four times, took 18th place in the 2011 Nikon contest.

Really Tiny Christmas

19th place in the 2011 Nikon Small World competition.

(Image credit: Dr. Donna Stolz The University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA )

Nikon winner Donna Stolz is ready for Christmas -- on a microscopic level, at least. This is a collage of mammalian cells, stained to reveal various proteins and organelles and then assembled into a wreath. Happy holidays!

Dinosaur Bone Art

20th place in the 2011 Nikon Small World photography contest

(Image credit: Douglas Moore University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA )

20th place has been waiting a long time for this -- 150 million years, to be precise. This image of agatized dinosaur bone cells magnified 42 times rounds out the top 20 in the 2011 Nikon Small World photography contest.

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