The Best National Geographic Pictures of the Year in Science

This year has changed us completely. It has changed us in how we look at ourselves. But more important It has changed us in how we look at the world.

In many ways it has been a very tough yet amazing year for science. In this post we have tried to capture some of the best National Geographic Photos of 2020 as curated by Kurt Mutchler, the head science photo editor at the National Geographic. These photos show the true essence of a world that is affected by a global pandemic yet coming together to find new hope.

Photograph by Spencer Lowell. September 2020 issue of National Geographic Magazine.

This photo shows the evolution of robots. Robots are getting close to mimicking human capabilities and this robot at Robotics and Biology Laboratory at the Technical University of Berlin uses pneumatic fingers to pick up a flower.

The robot researchers at the university have taught robots to perform human-like sensitive and nimble interactions with objects such as apples and flowers. This ‘machine-learning’ will enable robots to grasp objects and manipulate them which are crucial skills for robots that works with people.

Photograph by Martin Oeggerli. January 2020 issue of National Geographic Magazine.

Do you see that? Those are microbes. There are millions of microbes living inside us. They make us who we are.

The photo above was captured using an electron microscope and shows a blooming microbial colony cultivated from a woman’s lips. It might come as a surprise but actually people who often kiss each other will develop similarities in their oral microbiomes.

Photograph by Craig Cutler

What you are looking at above might be the first possible host of SARS-CoV-2, the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease

This is preserved sample of the horseshoe bat, also known as Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, in the collection of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, was collected in Uzbekistan in 1921. A document from WHO reveals the following:

All available evidence for COVID-19 suggests that SARS-CoV-2 has a zoonotic source. Since there is usually limited close contact between humans and bats, it is more likely that transmission of the virus to humans happened through another animal species, one that is more likely to be handled by humans. This intermediate animal host or zoonotic source could be a domestic animal, a wild animal, or a domesticated wild animal and, as of yet, has not been identified

Photography by Daniel Knop

Remember Nemo from Finding Nemo? Nemo was a clownfish.

Cownfish are usually bright orange with three distinctive white bars and they are among the recognizable of all reef-dwellers. They reach about 4.3 inches in length, and are named for the multicolored sea anemone in which they make their homes.

The photo above by German photographer Daniel Knop shows the stages of a clownfish embryo development —from hours after fertilization to hours before hatching.

Photograph by Craig Cutler

There is scientific research that shows that VR games can be used to reduce pain for patients.

In this photo you see patient Brent Bauer, who broke several bones in a three-story fall, and is playing virtual reality (VR) game called SnowWorld during an orthopedic surgery to reduce his pain. VR is now being studied by research teams around the world to relieve pain in medical situations. There is research that says that patients who play VR games during surgery reported 24% less pain and anxiety.

Looking for more science stuff? Check out recent science news that shows that living on Mars might soon become a reality.

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