(Pocket-lint) - Each year the Royal Photographic Society runs a competition to select the best international images for science. The winner is selected from an astounding range of images submitted by students, amateur photographers, professionals and smartphone users from around the world. 

Five overall winners and 95 shortlisted images were selected from 3,563 entries for this year's competition. Take a look through the photos, we're sure you'll agree they're incredible. 

The overall winners

The overall winners of this year's international images for science competition include everything from a frozen bubble to what initially appears to be a hideous alien monster. It's easy to see why these images were chosen and it's nice to see a wide range of award winners being selected. 

Retina Ishihara Artwork

Jonathan Brett

This image is pretty spectacular - a real eye-opener. An artistic rendition of an Ishihara pattern created using over 500 photographs of people's retinas. It's one award winner that actually looks like it's starting back at you. 


Enrico Sacchetti

Located deep underground in the Gran Sasso mountains of Italy is the Gran Sasso Laboratory, also known as Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso. This lab is known for experiments in astroparticle physics and nuclear astrophysics. The Gran Sasso Laboratory is at the forefront of scientific experiments and advancements. 

This photo shows the XENON1T, a dark matter detector that's part of the experimental equipment within the laboratory. Certainly a futuristic vision of science and a worthy winner. 

Impala Cutaneous Glands

Morgan Trimble

Impala, the magnificent antelope from African savannas are not only beautiful creatures, they're also territorial in nature. The black tuft of fur visible on their legs in this photo is actually a metatarsal gland that allows them to scent mark their territory. An interesting nugget of science fact in a thoroughly impressive image. 

Taenia Solium

Teresa A Zgoda

This hideous and alien-like being is actually a microscopic image of a tapeworm. What looks like the creature's eyes are actually its suckers. Not something you'd want inside you, but certainly a worthy competition winner. 

Ferrofluid Glowing Multi-colour

Ella Main

Ferrofluid is a liquid that is affected by magnetic fields. Processing systems for this fluid were invented by NASA in 1963 and it was used for liquid rocket fuel allowing it to be more easily pumped around in the weightlessness of space. An impressive and useful substance, Ferrofluid also makes for some pretty awesome photographs. This award-winning image captures the glowing multi-colours of Ferrofluid under magnetic influence. 

The shortlisted images

Choosing the winners was no doubt tough work for the judges, but whittling down a shortlist from thousands of entries was also difficult. The shortlisted images for this year are pretty incredible and we've selected some of the very best from the 95 chosen by the Royal Photographic Society judges.

Soap Bubble Planet

Richard Beech

Here a humble soap bubble is captured with glorious swirling colours against a black background with the use of a macro lens. Light is reflected from the surface, giving the impression of a distant planet rather than a small bubble which could easily have been made with washing up liquid. 

Solar Power

Sudipto Das

Even in the remote regions of India solar panels are used to provide electricity. This image captures a man carrying a solar panel to his village where conventional electricity supplies cannot reach. This clean energy provided by science is the perfect solution and the ideal snapshot for the scientific photo awards. 

A Nightmare of the Small World

Pratik Pradhan

These giant forest scorpions are as interesting as they are scary. They're the only known species of scorpion known to move in a colony. They're also fascinating because despite being black, they also glow a blueish hue when lit up with an ultraviolet light. This photo was captured doing just that providing a nightmarish view of their pincher filled world. 

Amoeba Shells

Gerd-A. Günther

This image shows the empty shells of the amoeba genus Difflugia. This type of amoeba builds their shells with particles found in their surrounding environment and those captured here have used tiny sand grains. This microscopic image seems to show emerald encrusted jewels, but instead shows the beauty of nature captured in a simple photograph. 

Bass Guitar String

Gerd-A. Günther

This is a microscopic photograph of a string from a 45 bass guitar. We love these microscopic images that show the make-up of our world at a level that we'd never normally see and take for granted in our daily lives.

Healing - 35 weeks later

Kathleen Sheffer

Kathleen Sheffer went through a traumatic heart and lung transplant and documented her recovery with this image. The photo here shows her recovery and was taken 8 months after the surgery. A miracle of modern science. 

Erta'ale 3

Mark Levitin

In Danakil, Ethiopia lava bubbles in the heart of the Erta'ale volcano. Smoke billows from the surface. These sort of scientific images show the deadly power of nature in the world around us. 

Spinning Rainbow

Plant & Food Research

This image shows a close-up of an electrospinning, a scientific process that uses electric force to draw out threads and fibres from liquids. This is another close-up image of the magnificence of science at the smallest level. 

Intense Scents

Plant & Food Research

At the microscopic level, you can see the tiny hairs on this insect's antennae which contain the receptors that are responsible for the creatures sense of smell. These receptors help insects find food, but also detect the pheromones emitted by potential mates. Somehow this image is both gruesome and incredible at the same time. 


Zoltan Toth

Another close-up macro image captures a tiny snowflake before it melts. Snowflakes always make for incredible images, especially as you'll rarely ever find two snowflakes that look the same. Atmospheric conditions and their journey through the sky determines the crystal formation of these tiny magic nuggets of icy joy. The patterns and shapes formed are intricate and a marvel of nature at its finest. 

Balancing Act

Richard Sharrocks

Captured using a high-speed lens, this photo shows the collision of three droplets of water in a bowl. As the first drop hits the surface it creates an impact spike, the second drop following shortly after creates a crown on top of that and the third drop sits neatly above. This obviously all happens in quick succession, so takes some smart photography to capture. 

Amanita Ascends

Phred Petersen

A multiple exposure image shows the growth of an Amanita muscaria mushroom over a 24-36 hour period. This photo nicely captures the swift growth of this mushroom as it develops. 

B33 Horsehead and Flame Nebulae in Orion

Dave Watson ARPS

"At the centre of this photo is the famous Horsehead Nebula (B33). The Flame Nebula (NGC2024) is at the lower left. Both are in the constellation of Orion. B33 is an opaque dust cloud and is visible against the bright red background of the emission nebula that originates from a hydrogen gas cloud."

Breath of Manaslu

Yevhen Samuchenko

This photograph was captured near the Himalayan mountains in Nepal and captures rays of sunshine breaking through thick storm clouds lurking around the mountainside. 

Halo Glory

Yevhen Samuchenko

"A glory is an optical phenomenon that resembles an iconic saint's halo about the shadow of the observer's head, caused by light of the Sun or (more rarely) the Moon interacting with the tiny water droplets that make up mist or clouds. The glory consists of one or more concentric, successively dimmer rings, each of which is red on the outside and bluish towards the centre. Due to its appearance, the phenomenon is sometimes mistaken for a circular rainbow, but the latter has a much larger diameter."

The only way is up

David Green

This image is a from an electron micrograph scan of a calcite crystal, showing the growth of the crystal. The apparent arrows on the surface are actually formed as a result of the crystal growth and the way the protein binds during this period. A curiosity of nature that appears manmade at first glance. 

Mosquito Foot

Steve gschmeissner

Mosquitoes might well be a hideous pest of the insect world, but everything looks fascinating and incredible on an electron micrograph. This image shows the leg, claw, pad and surrounding scales of a mosquito leg at 800 times magnification. 

The Great Monarch’s Migration

Alexandre Lagreou

During migration from Mexico to Canada, the Danaus Plexippus, also known as the Monarch Butterfly, often gather together by the hundreds. This image captures a clump of the butterfly and gives the impression of a colourful flower and a snapshot of nature at its finest. 

The Silent Assassin

Arghya Adhikary

A camouflaged vine snake leaps forth from the undergrowth and captures a bird for a light snack. This image was captured on the canal shores of West Bengal, India and shows the terror of nature at its finest. 

Squares and Circles 

Andrew Wang

This photograph was captured in a storage area in the village of Pengchang near Xiantao, China. These storage units hold steel rods with square and circular metal tubes stacked at different angles. Though not perhaps as scientific as some of the other images in the shortlist, it's certainly a highlight of the shapes and structures in the world. 

Thaw Number 5

Timo Lieber

This image is intended to highlight the problem with melting ice caps and climate change. Taken at the Arctic polar ice cap, it shows the shrinking icy landscape and comes with the knowledge that Greenland alone is losing 380,000,000,000 tonnes of ice annually. 

Aurora Over a Glacier Lagoon

James Woodend

In Iceland, these auroras, more commonly known as the Polar Lights or the Northern Lights, are a regular sight. They're caused by plasma discharge and solar winds from the Sun entering our upper atmosphere. The collision of these energies with our atmosphere creates an ionisation effect which excites the atmosphere and results in an incredible light show.  This is especially prominent in the polar regions and can also be seen from space. An undeniably incredible image and a beauty to behold. 

Frozen Bubble

Daniela Rapavá

This is the second bubble to feature on our list of shortlisted scientific images. Formed using a soapy mixture that then froze in the cold, this close image captures the freezing progress and the crystalline formation as it occurs. 

Faraday Cage

Luis davilla

This photograph shows the inner workings of a Faraday cage. This is a special enclosure crafted using conductive materials that help to block external static electric fields. The idea here is to protect sensitive electronic equipment from interference caused by external radio waves. This impressive looking structure is not only great for scientific experiments, it also makes for a cracking photograph. 

Surface Tension

Richard Germain

This image shows a safety pin dropped on the surface of water. With a large backlight featuring small black squares painted on its surface, the water and the pin are highlighted showing the way the water is deformed by the weight and shape of the pin. A simple, yet mesmerising image that shows the way physics works in the world.  

If you enjoyed these images, you can see the rest of the shortlisted photographs and those from the previous years on the Royal Photographic Society website

Writing by Adrian Willings.