Science can be exciting and fun

Outside scientific circles, few people are aware just how exciting working in a laboratory can be. For this reason, the news magazine FOCUS and the vfa, the German Association of Research-based Pharmaceutical Companies, have presented awards to photographers, now for the fifth time, who document the fascination of science and research in a spectacular, original and illustrative manner. 104 photographers, with over 400 pictures, submitted entries in 2009.

With his picture of a praying mantis, Polish-born Igor Siwanowicz from the Max-Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Martinsried won the Public Prize of the competition. His photo with the title “Surprise effect“ was chosen by the majority of FOCUS Online readers. The praying mantis, a native of Malaysia, disguises itself as a leaf or a branch while lying in wait for victims. When in danger, it adopts the threatening position shown in the photo, presenting itself in dazzling colours and with arms and legs spread open to confuse its enemies. The photo is also awarded second place by the jury in the “Fascinating Research“ category. On the web pages of, take a look at how the human immune system deals with tuberculosis bacteria, be astonished by a flying penguin, by the beauty of human blood vessels, or be enchanted by the wonderful picture of sufferer of dementia holding a soft toy robot in his arms.


The above image: The picture of a praying mantis, by Igor Siwanowicz from the Max-Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Martinsried, won both the public prize of the Focus-Online readership and second place in the "Fascinating Research" category in 2009.