Have an eye for science? Beaker Street’s annual Science Photography Prize invites all Tasmanians to showcase the wonders of our extraordinary part of the world — which is teeming with science and scientists.
Finalist images are displayed at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery during Beaker Street Festival each August, with great prizes on offer for Judges’ and People’s Choice winners.
Beaker Street Science Photography Prize 2023
COMPETITION NOW CLOSED
Congratulations to the 2023 Science Photography Prize winners, and to everyone who entered.
Judges’ Choice Winner
Luke Brokensha, Skeletonema
Description: This image was taken using a Scanning Electron Microscope. These are two chained cells of a diatom called Skeletonema. You can see how the two cells are linked in the middle, as if they are holding hands. Diatoms are microscopic organisms that live in the oceans and lakes of the world. They can replicate themselves and form long chains, and they also turn sunlight into oxygen for us to breath through photosynthesis. Diatoms are believed to provide 20% of all the worlds oxygen! This chain was discovered inside the dissected stomach of an Antarctic Krill, found at the bottom of the sea near the Antarctic Continent.
People’s Choice Winner
Anthony Davey, Blackwood Fractals
Description: This image of a Blackwood tree (Acacia melanoxylon) exhibits the natural phenomenon called “Crown Shyness”, which describes the distinct gaps between the canopies of adjacent trees. It is believed to help prevent the spread of disease, parasites, insects and their larvae. Scientists have been studying this since the 1920’s and many theories abound as to how it arises. The most prevalent suggests the tree’s new growth is able to discern direct sunlight from blue light and far red scattered light. IThe latter wavelengths are more prominent in reflected light from leaves from an adjacent tree, so being able to detect it allows the tree to arrest its growth in the direction of adjacent trees. Crown shyness may incidentally allow more light into the understorey and forest floor, enabling the growth of plants there that benefit fauna too, since these parts of the ecosystem are all connected.