This picture looks like some tube-shaped creatures caressing a ball. They are caressing, alright, but they aren’t even living things!
An electron microscope photograph shows self-assembling hair-like polymers around a polystyrene sphere, about two micrometers in diameter. It won first place in the National Science Foundation's 2009 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge.
Self-assembling plastic is a pretty far out concept, but the detail and color in a microscopic image is amazing in itself. This is just one of a collection of fascianting scientific images, one for each year going back to 2005, covering a wide variety of disciplines, at HuffPo. Some you' ve seen here before, but are worth a sescond look.
(Image credit: Sung Hoon Kang, Joanna Aizenberg and Boaz Pokroy; Harvard University)