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Department of State

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Lt. Governor and Secretary of State

Amazing Microscopic Views on Display Now in Nikon “Small World” Exhibition

TRENTON, N.J. – The New Jersey State Museum is pleased to announce the Nikon “Small World” exhibition is on view through July 15, 2018. “Small World” is Nikon’s annual photomicrography competition, featuring stunning photographic images showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through a microscope. The top 20 images are included in the exhibition which is on view adjacent to the Planetarium lobby. Subject matter among this year’s twenty winning photos range from the flowering seed head of a common garden plant, to live algae releasing daughter colonies that resembles a popular 80s video game character, plastic fracturing on a credit card hologram, sea cucumber skin that shows amazing anchor-like patterns and more. The exhibition explores the wonders of photomicrography and is a terrific example of STEAM – science and technology coming together with art.

The Nikon “Small World” competition began in 1975 as a means to recognize and applaud the efforts of those involved with photography through the light microscope. Since then, “Small World” has become a leading showcase for photomicrographers from the widest array of scientific disciplines. A photomicrograph is a technical document that can be of great significance to science. But a good photomicrograph is also an image whose structure, color, composition and content is an object of beauty, open to multiple levels of comprehension and appreciation. The competition is open to anyone with an interest in photography through the microscope. The subject matter is unrestricted and any type of light microscopy technique is acceptable. Entries are judged, by an independent panel of experts who are recognized authorities in the area of photomicrography and photography, on the basis of originality, informational content, technical proficiency and visual impact.

According to the New Jersey State Museum’s Natural History Curator David Parris, “Each year the State Museum is especially pleased to host Nikon’s ‘Small World’ exhibition, showing photographs that celebrate microscopic observations.” Parris continued, “Many of the most beloved Museum exhibitions show wonderful large things, such as dinosaurs, cultural, or artistic creations. But much of the work of science requires microscopy, such as finding tiny objects, identifying substances, and discovering things that are not visible to the unaided eye.”

Dr. Bram van den Broek of The Netherlands Cancer Institute took first place for his photo of a skin cell expressing an excessive amount of keratin. He came across this peculiar but beautiful skin cell while researching the dynamics of keratin filaments with Andriy Volkov, a student in the Cell Biophysics group led by Professor Kees Jalink. “There are more than 50 different keratin proteins known in humans. The expression patterns of keratin are often abnormal in skin tumor cells, and it is thus widely used as tumor marker in cancer diagnostics,” said Dr. van den Broek. “By studying the ways different proteins like keratin dynamically change within a cell, we can better understand the progression of cancers and other diseases.”

According to Eric Flem, Communications Manager, Nikon Instruments, “This year’s winners not only reflect remarkable research and trends in science, but they also allow the public to get a glimpse of a hidden world. This year’s winning photo is an example of important work being done in the world of science, and that work can be shared thanks to rapidly advancing imaging technology.”

The State Museum is open 9:00 am to 4:45 pm, Tuesday through Sunday, closed all State holidays. For additional information visit, like the Museum’s Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter (njstatemuseum) or Instagram (nj_statemuseum).


About the New Jersey State Museum

Located at 205 West State Street in Trenton, the New Jersey State Museum encompasses three buildings including a state-of-the-art Planetarium, and holds over 2 million objects in its collections in Archaeology/Ethnography, Cultural History, Fine Art and Natural History. As a center of cultural, educational and scientific engagement, the museum inspires innovation and lifelong learning through collections, exhibitions, programs and research in science, history and art. Established in 1895, the New Jersey State Museum fosters state pride, serves as a cultivator of tomorrow’s leaders, and engages visitors of all ages and diverse backgrounds in an exploration of New Jersey’s cultural and natural history presented within a global context. The New Jersey State Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

About the New Jersey State Museum Foundation

Celebrating 50 years in 2018, the New Jersey State Museum Foundation was founded in 1968 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) to support the museum's collections, exhibitions and programs through fundraising, volunteerism, advocacy and marketing. In recent years, the foundation has received generous support from the PNC Foundation, NJM Insurance Group, National Endowment for the Arts, Department of State/New Jersey Historical Commission, and New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Henry Luce Foundation, Capstone Foundation and Princeton Area Community Foundation. The foundation also operates a newly renovated gift shop selling merchandise related to the museum's exhibitions, collections and New Jersey history and culture. Proceeds support the New Jersey State Museum's collections, exhibitions and programs.


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