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Science Museum015
CREDIT: Gary Evans ASIS FRPS - original image Kym Cox ARPS

2020 winners

The Science Photographer of the Year 2020 selected images were chosen from over 1,000 entries submitted for free by both amateur and professional photographers.

This year’s selection document our fragile planet, the human cost of global warming and actions being taken by communities around the world such as innovative irrigation methods and solar and turbine energy sources. They reveal incredible imaging techniques, from microscopic observations, medical examinations, fossil evacuations and kaleidoscopic patterns of refractions, oscillations and crystallisations.

Originally planned to be shown at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the four winning images are now displayed alongside 75 selected photographs as part of an online exhibition for Manchester Science Festival, which is produced by the museum. It will be available to view beyond the festival dates until 2 May.

We are especially grateful to Olympus UK & Ireland for providing camera prizes for the winners of our Young Science Photographer of the Year categories.

0292 Orthophoto Of SS Thistlegorm By Simon Brown
CREDIT: Simon Brown

Simon Brown

The Science Photographer of the Year 2020 is Simon Brown for his image 'Orthophoto of SS Thistlegorm'.

SS Thistlegorm is a 126 metre long merchant ship that was bombed and sunk in 1941. The site of the wreck has been captured in 15,005 images, each adjusted to give a "straight down" view before being tagged with GPS data and merged with the others. The merged data file provides a single image of the 2 hectare site at a resolution of 2mm per pixel. This ship is a well known recreational dive site (divers at lower right), and is slowly becoming part of the local coral reef.

0326 North Pole Under Water By Sue Flood FRPS
CREDIT: Sue Flood FRPS

Sue Flood

The Science Photographer of the Year in the Climate category for 2020 is Sue Flood FRPS for her image "North Pole Under Water".

Sue was working on a Russian icebreaker, travelling to the North Pole. When they arrived at 90 degrees North latitude, the geographic North Pole, it was hard to find a suitable place to get out onto the ice. Sue photographed this North Pole sign in the melting ice, as a powerful symbol of the warming of the Arctic and the huge reduction of annual sea ice cover due to climate change.

1688 Rainbow Shadow Selfie By Katy Appleton
CREDIT: Katy Appleton

Katy Appleton

The Young Science Photographer of the Year 2020 is Katy Appleton for her image 'Rainbow Shadow Selfie'.

The image shows a spectrum thrown onto a wall by shining sunlight through a prism. Katy has cast her own shadow onto the wall while taking the photo, so that the spectrum shines more clearly. It was felt that this apparently simple image contains many optical principles to discuss yet also harks back to the experiments of scientists such as Newton and Herschel.

0764 Apollo's Emissary By Raymond Zhang
CREDIT: Raymond Zhang

Raymond Zhang

The Young Science Photographer of the Year in the Climate category for 2020 is Raymond Zhang for his image 'Apollo's Emissary'.

Raymond photographed this concentrated solar power generating station in China. This uses 12,000 mirrors to aim sunlight at a central tower where it heats molten sodium nitrate salt. The salt passes through a heat exchanger, producing steam to drive generator turbines. The thermal inertia is such that the station can continue working through the night, saving up to 350,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission per year.

The selection panel were impressed by the composition of the image, but also how it highlights a leading renewable energy technology.