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The best science images of the year are all about life, death, sex, and disease

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This week, the Wellcome Trust — a UK-based biomedical research charity — announced the 2015 finalists for their annual photography competition. The 20 images span a range of disciplines and imaging techniques, from a simple photograph of an elderly woman with a curved spine, to a composite image of a boll weevil taken with a scanning electron microscope.

"The breath-taking riches of the imagery that science generates are so important in telling stories about research and helping us to understand often abstract concepts," said Adam Rutherford, a scientists and judge for the Wellcome Image Awards, in an accompanying press release. "It’s not just about imaging the very small either. It’s about understanding life, death, sex, and disease: the cornerstones of drama and art."

"IT’S ABOUT UNDERSTANDING LIFE, DEATH, SEX AND DISEASE."

All of these elements are certainly present in this year's line-up, with images of skeletons — both 3D-printed and computer generated — as well cells, nerves, models, and body parts. There's pictures of animals like the tiny parasitic wasp just 0.75 millimeters in length, and of creatures not yet fully formed, such as the five-month fetus of an unborn horse, still enveloped in the cloud-like swirl of a uterus.

The winning images from the competition will be announced later this month on March 20th, with the whole collection then displayed across the UK and in the US at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Koch Institute and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

All images credited to Wellcome Images.