FZU Photo Competition Winners Revealed

Date of publication
Perex

Photos ranging from microscopic images to outputs of computer simulations: employees of the Institute of Physics surprised the Evaluation Committee by a variety of topics. The first prize was awarded to Barbora Smolková for the image of a ghost in a carcinoma cell with a super-resolution confocal microscopy.

Photos ranging from microscopic images to outputs of computer simulations: employees of the Institute of Physics surprised the Evaluation Committee by a variety of topics. The first prize was awarded to Barbora Smolková for the image of a ghost in a carcinoma cell with a super-resolution confocal microscopy.

The second place, in a total of 125 photos from 33 participants, was received by John Mangeri for his image of a computer simulation of the polarization in the vicinity of a BaTiO3 nanoparticle. After no hesitation, the Evaluation Committee decided to award two third places. The bronze model position is thus divided between Alexey Bubnov for his image of “Liquid Crystals” captured using polarized light microscopy, and Jakub Novák for a reportage taken during the commissioning of the ALLEGRA laser at the ELI centre in Dolní Břežany.

The Evaluation Committee was composed of the representatives of the Institute‘s management and the FZU‘s PR team members; additionally, the evaluation was made by a professional photographer Petr Jan Juračka. “We were pleased by the response to the photo competition amongst employees. We received a large number of quality images and we are going to use these for publicity purposes,” said Jiří Červenka, the Science Secretary of the Institute of Physics and a member of the Evaluation Committee.

In the following section, we are bringing you top ten places (twelve images with shared places) and their descriptions.


1st place. Barbora Smolková: "Booh!" The ghost appears in my cell culture.
B. Smolková uses a super-resolution confocal microscope, the one and only instrument of its kind in the Czech Republic. To display the intricate structures, a laser beam is focused on a sample through a specially designed rotating disc. Thus, the resolution may be smaller than 100 nm. Using fluorescence colours, scientists are then able to mark cell organelles, such as nuclei, mitochondria or a cytoskeleton, and observe different changes in their structure or shape. The image shows a carcinoma cell.

2nd place. John Mangeri: Computational simulation of a BaTiO3 nanoparticle: lines of constant polarization flux in an exotic topological state.
J. Mangeri is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Dielectrics. Even in this field, there is still a number of unsolved questions scientists are looking to answer in basic research. The image is an outcome of a computer simulation of polarization in the vicinity of a BaTiO3 nanoparticle.

3rd – 4th place. Alexey Bubnov: Liquid Crystal Textures.
A. Bubnov is exploring the properties of new liquid crystalline materials, designed at the department of chemistry. New textures of these materials can be determined by polarizing optical microscopy from which the picture was also taken. Liquid crystals are a common part of living systems (proteins, cell membranes, ...) and their most popular use is in electronic (LCD) displays.

3rd – 4th place. Jakub Novák: ELI ALLEGRA laser 4th stage OPCPA.
The image shows the commissioning of the ALLEGRA laser. ALLEGRA is one of the lasers operated at ELI Beamlines; the device is the most powerful laser in the world. Here, parametric equalisation technology is used to boost pulse energy.

5th place. Marek Vronka: Magnetic domain structure in Ni-Mn-Ga alloy.
The domain structure displays a magnetic shape memory effect. Individual colours represent the orientation of the magnetic field inside the sample. M. Vronka works at the Department of Material Analysis; this analysis is crucial for understanding the relations between the structure and properties of a material and for explaining crystal growth.

6th – 12th place. Alexey Bubnov: Rocks.
A. Bubnov is exploring the properties of new liquid crystalline materials, designed at the department of chemistry. New textures of these materials can be determined by polarizing optical microscopy from which the picture was also taken. Liquid crystals may flow like a liquid but at the same time have some crystal-like properties, e.g. oriented molecules.

6th – 12th place. Alexey Bubnov: Colour Dance.
A. Bubnov is exploring the properties of new liquid crystalline materials, designed at the department of chemistry. New textures of these materials can be determined by polarizing optical microscopy from which the picture was also taken.

6th – 12th place. Jaromír Kopeček: Violet- and Green-flowered Cubic Aluminide.
For J. Kopeček, the installation of the Tescan FERA 3 scanning electron microscope in 2014 was a step into a new era: a laboratory was set up to enable the complete preparation and characterization of materials, mainly intermetallics. The colour map of crystal grid orientations created with electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) is an example of a method developed both for internal projects and external laboratory users. The green- and blue-flowered sample is used as a reference for materials prepared from powders and to achieve a more detailed description of its structure.

6th – 12th place. Martin Mašek: The Lagoona Nebula (M8 catalogue specification) with an open cluster.
M. Mašek is known as a passionate night sky observer and a discoverer of a number of variable stars and other astronomical objects. For the Institute of Physics, he remotely controls the FRAM telescope, located in Argentina, by which he took the image. The nebula, which is a birthplace of new stars, is located in the Saggitarius constellation.

6th – 12th place. Martin Mašek: The full-sky picture of night skies over Los Leones at the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina.
The full-sky image was taken in close vicinity of the Czech FRAM telescope that M. Mašek visited as part of a service mission in 2015. A striking belt of Milky Way extends across the sky; the image also shows Magellanic Clouds, a small satellite galaxy that is gravitationally bound to our galaxy. Green stripes, known as airglow, stretch across the sky; airglow is natural radiation of the Earth‘s atmosphere.

6th – 12th place. Vladimíra Novotná: Liquid crystals.
V. Novotná is head of a group studying liquid crystals. Liquid crystals are organic substances with the properties of liquids; they can flow and adapt to external conditions but at the same time they display crystalline compositions and properties. Their universe is full of colours and contrasts and when these are observed in a polarised light of an optical microscope, they bring us a lot of information about their optical properties. While observing them, we may frequently experience the finest aesthetic moments. This photo has also won the 2nd place of Academy council category in this year's Photogenic Science national competition.

6th – 12th place. Tetyana Polyakova: Once a physicist - always a physicist, even on holiday!
Travelling around Northern Norway, T. Polyakova came across these giants maelstroms that form with each tide causing the water to rush in or out of Skjerstad Fjord through a narrow straight of Saltstraumen. The transition from laminar to turbulent water flow hasn't been successfully described theoretically yet, and for more than 100 years has remained a mystery to scientists. In this shot, you can enjoy a real-life picture of this transition while observing a boatful of researchers (or maybe adventurers). T. Polyakova is doing research in biophysics, particularly the influence of magnetic fields on living organisms.