The winning pictures in the DNRF’s photo competition 2019 have been chosen

28. March 2019
Collage of the three winning photos from the DNRF Photo Competition 2019. Photo: DNRF

In 2018, the Danish National Research Foundation launched a photo competition. Again this year, researchers from all over the country have competed for the best photo. See the winning pictures below. 

Photos have the ability to unseal the world of science in a surprising and inviting way by revealing its beauty or otherwise fascinating appeal. The DNRF would like to share with a broader audience how scientific discovery each day advances our knowledge of ourselves and the world we live in. To this end, and for the second time, the foundation has launched a photo competition based on the photograph’s potential as documentation and communication of scientific research.

Below, you can see the winning pictures and find links to interviews with the winners, who explain the fascinating research behind the pictures.

  • SELECTION:

    Selection criteria:

    • Degree to which the photo evokes emotions in the observer
    • Degree to which the photo works as visual entry point to the story behind the specific research result
    • Aesthetic quality of the photo
    Panel:

    • Christine Buhl Andersen, Director at Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket
    • Louise Wolthers, Research Manager/Curator at the Hasselblad Foundation
    • Minik Rosing, Professor at the Natural History Museum, board member at the DNRF and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

First prize:  Two root nodules. Niels Sandal, Senior researcher, Aarhus University

Photo: Niels Sandal, Aarhus University - About the photo: The photo shows two nodules on the root of the leguminous plant Lotus japonicus. This plant exists in a symbiosis with the earth bacteria Mesorhizobium loti. In the symbiosis the bacteria obtain carbohydrates from the plant, and the bacteria deliver fixed nitrogen to the plant. Therefore, the plant can do without nitrogen fertilizer. The bacteria are colored with LacZ (dark blue), and the plant’s cell nuclei are colored with DAPI. The nuclei are seen as light blue dots. You can see the bacteria in the young nodule and on the surface of the older nodule. In our research group, we have isolated many of the plant genes that are necessary for symbiosis.
Photo: Niels Sandal, Aarhus University

The panel’s review: Two root nodules by Niels Sandal. The photo is magical and not immediately open to interpretation. It is not possible to see whether the scale is at a cellular level or a cluster of galaxies, but the observer is drawn to the world that opens up in the picture. Further, the photo is very beautiful and well composed, and it gives a sense of movement and space. The scientific content is important as it shows how the scientist works with the symbiosis between bacteria and plants, which thereby can grow without addition of nitrogen fertilizer.

Read the interview with Niels Sandal about the science behind the photo here

 

Second prize: A hedgehog getting a dental examination. Sofie Lund Rasmussen, Ph.D student, University of Southern Denmark and Naturama

Photo: Sofie Lund Rasmussen, University of Southern Denmark - about the photo: For my Ph.D. project about Danish hedgehogs, Danish citizens have collected nearly 700 dead hedgehogs that will be examined to attain an understanding of how the hedgehogs are doing in nature. Among other things, the hedgehogs have received dental examinations by a veterinary specialist in dentistry (Senior Veterinarian Hanne Kortegaard) in order to get a description of the challenges the hedgehogs face in terms of dental health. If their dental health is poor, the hedgehogs will have difficulties ingesting food, and will furthermore become more susceptible to infections. The hedgehog in the photo is young and was about to lose its baby teeth when it sadly died in traffic.
Photo: Sofie Lund Rasmussen, University of Southern Denmark

The panel’s review: “A hedgehog getting a dental examination” by Sofie Lund Rasmussen. The photo exudes horror in contrast to the cute hedgehog we all know from the garden. There is no technological filter between the motif and the observer. It infuses respect for nature and its creatures. The photo illustrates research on the familiar nature driven by care for wild animals, here the dental health of wild hedgehogs. It illustrates both scientific curiosity and empathy with the animals we live among.

Read the interview with Sofie Lund Rasmussen about the science behind the photo here

 

Third prize: Brain cancer cell on the go. Johann Mar Gudbergsson, Ph.D. student Aalborg University

Brain cancer cell on the go, Johann Mar Gudbergsson, Aalborg University - about the photo: The photo shows brain cancer cells of the type glioblastoma multiforme in movement, which are stained for DNA (blue) and actin cytoskeleton (red). The cell in the center of the photo is polynuclear, meaning that it contains multiple nuclei and therefore more DNA, which is often associated with cancer stem cells. Those are quite happy to move around, which can be seen in the photo by the long cellular process that stretches away from the blue nuclei. This shows the directions in which the cancer cell is heading. In patients with this type of brain cancer, it is the invasive cancer cells that constitutes a huge problem, because, with current treatments, they are impossible to exterminate. By invading healthy brain tissue, they are capable of using the brain’s own protection mechanisms, which, among other things, prevent harmful substances from entering the brain, and thereby also part of the compounds available for treatment.
Brain cancer cell on the go, Johann Mar Gudbergsson, Aalborg University

The panel’s review: “Brain cancer cells on the go” by Johann Mar Gudbergsson. The photo has a visual beauty that holds a sense of movement that underpins the invasive character of the depicted cancer cells. There is a demonic dimension in the motif that communicates the seriousness of the disease and, in that, the importance of the researcher’s work.

Read the interview with Johann Mar Gudbergsson about the science behind the photo here

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