20 Astonishing Photos From the Wellcome Image Awards

Pictures of 3D printed lungs, a mouse brain and a cat tongue among the finalists

Scientific images are both shocking and fascinating, as they often show us parts of our natural world that go entirely unseen: cross sections of brains, chemical reactions inside the body and extreme closeups of animals too small to actually see with the human eye.

Earlier this month Wellcome Image Awards announced the finalists of their 14th contest recognizing the most excellent and informative scientific images recently acquired by the biomedical research charity.

The pregnant pony uterus above was this year’s overall winner. “It evokes many different emotions at once: it’s fascinating, sad, macabre, almost brutal,” said James Cutmore, Picture Editor of BBC Focus and a judge of the competition. “Yet the subject is also delicate, detailed and beautiful. The image shows as a large and magnificent creature reduced to this sad, fragile and half-formed creation, which I find very humbling.” The pony uterus is preserved in fromalin and was photographed by Michael Frank in the Anatomy Museum of the Royal Veterinary College in London.

Although that winning shot is insane, the entire lineup of finalists is quite surreal.

3D-printed Lungs in Ribcage

3D-printed Lungs in Ribcage Photo

Goat Stomach Chamber

Goat Stomach Chamber

Immune Cell Detects Disease

Immune Cell Detects Disease

Cat Tongue

Cat Tongue

Pregnant Pony Uterus

Pregnant Pony Uterus

Pollen Grains

Pollen Grains

Boll weevil

Boll weevil

Tuatara skeleton

Tuatara skeleton

Mouse brain

Mouse brain

Purkinje Cell

Purkinje Cell

Chemical Reactions in the Kidney

Chemical Reactions in the Kidney

Delivering Medicine to the Brain

Delivering Medicine to the Brain

Newly Discovered Parasitoid Wasp

Newly Discovered Parasitoid Wasp

Greenfly Eye

Greenfly Eye

Fruit-fly Nervous System

Fruit-fly Nervous System

Mapping Brain Wiring

Mapping Brain Wiring

Delivering Medicine to the Lungs

Delivering Medicine to the Lungs

Curvature of the spine

Curvature of the spine

Children’s Multi-Sensory Unit

Children’s Multi-Sensory Unit

Old Anatomy Model

Old Anatomy Model