20 Astonishing Photos From the Wellcome Image Awards

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

Pregnant Pony Uterus
Pony
Pregnant Pony Uterus.Michael Frank, Royal Veterinary College

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
3D-printed Lungs in Ribcage PhotoDave Farnham, courtesy Wellcome Images
Goat Stomach Chamber
Goat Stomach Chamber
Goat Stomach ChamberMichael Frank, Royal Veterinary College, courtesy Wellcome Images
Immune Cell Detects Disease
Immune Cell Detects Disease
Immune Cell Detects DiseaseN. Dieckmann & N. Lawrence, University of Cambridge, courtesy Wellcome Images
Cat Tongue
Cat Tongue
Cat TongueDavid Linstead, courtesy Wellcome Images
Pregnant Pony Uterus
Pregnant Pony Uterus
Pregnant Pony UterusMichael Frank, Royal Veterinary College, courtesy Wellcome Images
Pollen Grains
Pollen Grains
Pollen GrainsDavid Linstead, courtesy Wellcome Images
Boll weevil
Boll weevil
Boll weevilDaniel Kariko, courtesy Wellcome Images
Tuatara skeleton
Tuatara skeleton
Tuatara skeletonSophie Regnault, courtesy Wellcome Images
Mouse brain
Mouse brain
Mouse brainLuis de la Torre-Ubieta, Geschwind Laboratory, UCLA, courtesy Wellcome Images
Purkinje Cell
Purkinje Cell
Purkinje CellProf. M. Hausser, Sarah Rieubland & Arnd Roth, UCL, courtesy Wellcome Images
Chemical Reactions in the Kidney
Chemical Reactions in the Kidney
Chemical Reactions in the KidneyJefferson R. Brown, Robert E. Marc, Bryan W. Jones, Glen Prusky & Nazia Alam, courtesy Wellcome Images
Delivering Medicine to the Brain
Delivering Medicine to the Brain
Delivering Medicine to the BrainKhuloud T. Al-Jamal, Serene Tay & Michael Cicirko, courtesy Wellcome Images
Newly Discovered Parasitoid Wasp
Newly Discovered Parasitoid Wasp
Newly Discovered Parasitoid WaspAndrew Polaszek, Natural History Museum, courtesy Wellcome Images
Greenfly Eye
Greenfly Eye
Greenfly EyeKevin Mackenzie, University of Aberdeen, courtesy Wellcome Images
Fruit-fly Nervous System
Fruit-fly Nervous System
Fruit-fly Nervous SystemAlbert Cardona, HHMI Janelia Research Campus, courtesy Wellcome Images
Mapping Brain Wiring
Mapping Brain Wiring
Mapping Brain WiringDr Flavio Dell'Acqua, courtesy Wellcome Images
Delivering Medicine to the Lungs
Delivering Medicine to the Lungs
Delivering Medicine to the LungsGregory Szeto, Adelaide Tovar, Jeffrey Wyckoff, Koch Institute, copyright MIT, courtesy Wellcome Images
Curvature of the spine
Curvature of the spine
Curvature of the spineMark Bartley, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, courtesy Wellcome Images
Children’s Multi-Sensory Unit
Children's Multi-Sensory Unit
Children’s Multi-Sensory UnitGeraldine Thompson, CMFT, courtesy Wellcome Images
Old Anatomy Model
Old Anatomy Model
Old Anatomy ModelAnthony Edwards, courtesy Wellcome Images