B0008308 Xenopus laevis oocytes

This is a micrograph (photograph or digital image taken through a microscope) of “Xenopus laevis oocytes” taken by VINCENT PASQUE, of University of Cambridge for the Wellcome Image Awards 2012.  Despite its resemblance to a firework display, this is actually part of an African clawed frog. Amazing!


It’s a stunning image, but I must admit that cells and atoms baffle me (as do many other things including internet, politics, taxes, and action films).

My limited understanding of science means I can appreciate it from a strictly aesthetic point of view, so for now I will stick to the views of Teddy and Muriel:

“Doctors talk about cells as if they had such unlimited importance all by themselves. As if they didn’t really belong to the person that has them […] I grew my own body, nobody else did it for me. So if I grew it, I must have known how to grow it. Unconsciously, at least. I may have lost the knowledge of how to grow it sometime in the last few hundred thousand years, but the knowledge is still there, because obviously -I’ve used it. It would take quite a lot of meditation and emptying out to get the whole thing back”

Extract from J.D. Salinger‘s story Teddy (from his short story collection Nine Stories)

“The Universe is made up of stories, not atoms” 

Muriel Rukeyser

Here are some more amazing photos of cells (etc.) for those of you who also enjoy the artistic side of science. It’s hard to believe these beautiful images actually come from living organisms. Our own bodies are filled with these things!

Xenopus embryos

Xenopus embryos (no, this is not a study of corn kernels)

B0005151 Drosophila oocyte showing actin/red and GFP-Staufen/green

Drosophila oocyte showing actin/red and GFP-Staufen/green

B0003595 Front end of transgenic Xenopus tadpole; GFP

Front end of transgenic Xenopus tadpole; GFP

Early human embryos

Early human embryos.