Artists know that true beauty can be found in unexpected places -- the trick is to recognize it. This is reinforced at the Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition, which showcases photos and videos of life sciences subjects, taken with a light microscope. Entries are judged based upon three criteria: the science, including the uniqueness of the specimen or of the process, the importance of the work and the new information revealed; the aesthetics, including the impact, balance and composition of the image; and the technical merit, which takes into consideration the difficulty involved in the imaging process and the photographic quality. The large-caliber axons of the auditory pathway in a Brainbow mouse glow as a result of fluorescent proteins. This first-prize image was taken by Jean Livet. Images courtesy of Olympus America Inc. In November, Olympus America Inc. of Center Valley, Pa., announced the winners of its fourth annual contest. First place was awarded to Jean Livet from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., for his “Brainbow” image of the axons in a mouse’s brain stem. Livet received $5000 worth of Olympus equipment. Three-dimensional fluorescence microscopy produced this picture of the inner ear of a mouse. This second-prize image was taken by Glen MacDonald. Glen MacDonald of the University of Washington in Seattle won the second-place prize of $2500 worth of equipment for his picture of a mammal’s inner ear, and $1500 worth of equipment was awarded to the third-place entry, an image of a chicken retina taken by Andy Fischer of Ohio State University in Columbus. This image shows the many layers of a chicken retina. This third-prize image was taken by Andy Fischer. The top 10 entries received prizes, and 63 other movies and images were awarded honorable mention. Besides being displayed on the contest Web site, many of the images will be shown in exhibits across the US, including appearances in Washington, New York and San Diego.