Hen’s tongue has everyone talking

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You’ve heard of the hen’s teeth...now here’s the Hen’s Tongue!

Steve Lowry’s stunning microscopic image shows the blood capillaries at the surface of a hen’s tongue as seen in polarised light.

‘Hen’s Tongue’ is included in an exhibition of 72 images taken as part of a photography competition at the Millennium Forum in Derry-Londonderry until March 18.

The free exhibition is part of Siemens’ Curiosity Project, a three-year engagement programme which aims to engage young people with science and engineering.

The competition was run by educational charity, the Royal Photographic Society and entrants had to take a visually appealing picture that tells a science story.

A former electron microscopist at Ulster University in Coleraine, Steve (66), who lives in Portstewart, said: “I took the photograph on my own microscope at home about two years ago.

“The image came from a prepared slide and was taken by a single lens reflex digital camera.

“I’m glad to say that in this case the photograph not only has scientific merit but artistic merit.”

While working at the University Steve’s interest in microscopic photography grew when he was awarded a cultural development research grant to study Victorian microscope slides.

“The images in the exhibition really are stunning and I’m very honoured to part of it. There’s no doubt it will provoke the public’s imagination.”

Gary Evans, RPS exhibition coordinator says: “While each image contains a strong science story, we also want viewers to engage with them simply because they look amazing – they each have the ‘wow!’ factor.

“We want people to look and think - “I wonder what that is?” and then read the caption to find out.

“The answers are often truly incredible and getting kids to guess what they are will be lots of fun!”

The International Images for Science exhibition features an extraordinary variety of images – from highly technical to highly conceptual, from entrants who are imaging professionals to those who are enthusiastic amateurs, showing subjects from the scale of atoms to the scale of the Universe. Almost 2,300 images were submitted in total across three age groups – 17 & under, 18-25 and 26 and over. From these, a panel of experts selected just 100 images for inclusion in the exhibition.