The Eye-Popping Moment When Human Life Begins

Illustration for article titled The Eye-Popping Moment When Human Life Begins

This dazzling image looks like an orange sun blazing in an alien sky, but it's actually a micrograph of in-vitro fertilization, showing the moment at which the sperm penetrates the egg's membrane. It's just one of many award-winning science images.

Advertisement

The above image, by Spike Walker, was one of the winners of the 2009 Wellcome Image Awards, announced yesterday in England. Last year's winners blew us away, but if anything, this years' are even more spectacular. Many of them play to our weakness for beautiful microscopy images. Here are our absolute favorites — more images at the link. [Wellcome Image Awards]

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled The Eye-Popping Moment When Human Life Begins


Microparticle drug delivery by Annie Cavaugh and Dave McCarthy: A synthetic drug coated with co-polymers. Scanning electron micrograph.

Illustration for article titled The Eye-Popping Moment When Human Life Begins
Advertisement


Villi in the small intestine. Multiphoton fluorescent micrograph by Paul Appleton.

Illustration for article titled The Eye-Popping Moment When Human Life Begins
Advertisement

Capillary network. Light micrograph by Spike Walker.

Illustration for article titled The Eye-Popping Moment When Human Life Begins
Advertisement

Mouse liver. Scanning electron micrograph by Jackie Lewin.

Illustration for article titled The Eye-Popping Moment When Human Life Begins
Advertisement

Lung cancer cell. Scanning electron micrograph by Anne Weston, London Research Institute, Cancer Research, UK.

Illustration for article titled The Eye-Popping Moment When Human Life Begins
Advertisement

Summer plankton. Light micrograph by Spike Walker.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

Careful, Charlie Jane Anders, you don't want some folks to start a 1000-post discussion on whether or not life begins at the moment the sperm enters the egg. Some of them would rather wait for "life" to begin a good trimester or so after that, others only after birth. (I personally think the egg and sperm themselves are a form of human life, but that's just me.) #scienceart