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Esteemed Authorities Judge Preeminent Microscopy Imaging Competition Focused On Life Science


Melville, NY, December 12, 2005 - Four people sat at large tables in a darkened room in Tallahassee, Florida in early October. Ahead of them on the wall, they viewed projections of a seemingly endless stream of images and movies – nearly a thousand in all. On their desktops sat large, ultra-high-resolution computer displays showing the same images in minute detail.

But far from feeling daunted by their enormous task, the four Olympus BioScapes™ Digital Imaging Competition judges did not feel overwhelmed. In fact, they were exhilarated – approaching their day of judging with intelligence, wit and dedication. By day’s end, they had examined every one of the photos, stopping at almost every entry to remark on how well the shot was composed, how difficult the technique or how unusual the specimen. The quality of the entries was very high, and the judges wanted to give every microscope photograph its due.

Each image was judged on three criteria – the information or story it revealed, the technical expertise of the photographer, and its aesthetic impact. In most cases, the foursome recognized the specimen and could discuss technical aspects of the photo with ease. In some cases, they asked Mike Davidson, the man who administers the competition from his home turf at Florida State University, and a microscope authority in his own right, to give them more information. They received additional information about the specimen, technique, preparation and microscope methodologies as listed on each entry form. What they did not learn was the name of the photographer or what equipment was used to capture the image.

Many rounds of viewing later, the four BioScapes judges had selected 10 images that stood out for their meaning, beauty and technical proficiency. These became the prizewinners.

Several dozen additional photos that almost made it into the top 10 were given Honorable Mention status, and a couple of images were honored with the Judges’ Special Recognition for Technical or Artistic Merit.

This process, which is repeated annually, resulted in the official announcement of the 2005 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition awardees yesterday evening at a gala event in San Francisco. Many of the images will be displayed at a gallery there for several weeks. The photos will then go on to a national tour with probable stops at well-known venues in California, Massachusetts, New York and Washington DC. A gallery of the winners and honorable mentions selected by the judges is available at www.olympusbioscapes.com.

The 2005 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition judges were:

· Dr. Douglas Murphy, Professor of Cell Biology, Director of the School of Medicine Microscope Facility, Johns Hopkins Medical School, Baltimore, MD

· George Patterson, Staff Scientist, Section on Organelle Biology, Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

· Dr. Alison North, Director, Bio-Imaging Resource Center, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY

· Dr. Kenneth N. Fish, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

About The Olympus BioScapes International Digital Imaging Competition

The Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition recognizes the finest images of life science specimens captured through light microscopes, using any magnification and any brand of equipment. Each entrant can submit up to five movies, images, or image sequences. Entries must include information on the importance or “story” behind the images. First prize is Olympus products and equipment valued at $5,000; nine additional winners also receive valuable prizes and numerous honorable mentions are named. Images for the 2006 competition are being accepted now. They can be uploaded at www.olympusbioscapes.com. More information on the competition and winners’ galleries are also on display at that website. For information or help with entering the competition, please email: contest@olympusbioscapes.com.

Members of the press only: For thumbnail images, publication-quality photographs, interviews, a museum tour schedule, or more information, please contact: Ilene Semiatin: (914) 684-0959 or ilene@edge-comm.net.