FNR Science Image Competition: Fantastic beasts


The FNR Science Image Competition aims to show the beauty of research and science outreach in Luxembourg. Luxembourg Science Center’s ‘Fantastic Beasts’ is one of the 2022 ‘distinction’ images in the Object of Study category. Learn more about this intriguing image of pollen and how it was created.

"Fantastic beasts" by Luxembourg Science Center

“With a scanning electron microscope, we found them: fantastic beasts responsible for itchy throats, running noses, and swollen eyes: POLLEN. What looks to the naked eye like a yellowish powder, reveals to be male germ cells after zooming in 2000 times.”

The image shows two different ‘beasts’: the donuts are provided by wild carrots, while the spike ball comes from an aster. They are transported by wind, water, bees, or other animals to fertilise plants. When entering the human body, vast chain reactions can happen, resulting in the release of messenger substances causing allergic reactions. It is estimated that between 10% – 30% of the world’s population suffers from some form of seasonal allergy – hay fever.

This image was captured by the team of the Luxembourg Science Center.


An international jury selected the winning photographs, images and videos, based on their aesthetic quality and their aptitude to inspire and fascinate, to convey or to illustrate knowledge, to narrate a story, to engage the public to explore a new universe.

For the jury, this is a prime example of how a detailed image changes the perspective of the viewer. It is an invitation to look more closely at the things of everyday life again and again.

About the FNR Science Image Competition – discover the exhibition!

The exhibition can also be discovered until the end of 2022 in Luxembourg City/Limpertsberg, in front of LGL

The FNR Science Image Competition ran for the first time in 2020, on the occasion of the FNR’s 20th birthday. Now in its third edition, the 2022 awarded and ‘distinction’ images – along with the ‘Prix du Public’ awarded in collaboration with media partner RTL, can be discovered at an exhibition at the Luxembourg Science Center from 29 June until the end of September 2022. From Mid-September 2022 you can also discover the exhibition in front of Lycée de Garçons in Luxembourg-Limpertsberg (Place Auguste Laurent) – until the end of the year.

Categories in the FNR Science Image Competition

1) Object of study: From the microcosm to the macrocosm, images of the research object captured by scientists using a camera or generated by a computer.

2) Scientists in action: Photographs of research in practice, presented by and featuring those conducting it.

3) Places and tools: Photographs of the surroundings in which scientists take measurements, generate data, share their passion, make discoveries and of the instruments they use while doing so.

4) Science outreach activities: Photographs of an activity where researcher and science communicators dialogue with the school children, students or the wider public or of interactive projects for school children, students and the wider public, giving them an overview of science and research and/or scientists’ research methods.


More about the Luxembourg Science Center

Knowledge bites: the science of food ingredients, for everyone

Discover the stories behind more images from the 2022 FNR Science Image Competition

FNR Science Image Competition: The bubbly oil

FNR Science Image Competition: Winner Prix du Public

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FNR Science Image Competition: Microcarriers

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FNR Science Image Competition: Dead tree

FNR Science Image Competition: This is plasma

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