8 of our favorite science photos and videos of 2022

While 2022 has in many ways been the year of AI-generated imagery (is that real art?), Cosmos believe that scientists can generate great – or at least very interesting – images and videos without the help of a bot.

Here are eight of our favorite photos and videos of the year, taken or directed by scientists.

A deep-sea batfish

Batfish: beige, round flatfish with round black eyes, a short spiky tail, and two fins protruding from its back that look like legs
The deep-sea batfish, which uses its arm-like limbs to traverse the seabed. Bats have hollow snouts containing tiny fishing lures to attract prey. Credit: Benjamin Healley / Museums Victoria

Museums Victoria took the ship CSIRO RV investigator toured the Cocos (Keeling) Islands this year and saw some great stuff, like this batfish. Read more.

Lego time lords

Quantum time experiment Lego building with a scientist, two clocks and a nuclear reactor
Quantum physics with… lego. Professional time master Michael Wouters illustrated the time experiment he is working on with bricks: here are two cesium clocks and the ANSTO nuclear reactor, right, in blue.

How do you illustrate a story about a groundbreaking theory of time travel that is experimentally tested at a restricted nuclear facility? With Lego, of course. Professional time master Michael Wouters made this rendition of a cesium clock, nuclear reactor, and scientist (not to scale). Read all about it in issue 94 of the magazine.

Jupiter by JWST

jwst 2022 07 27 jupiter 2 colors
Webb NIRCam composite image of the Jupiter system. Credit: NASA, ESA, ASC, Jupiter ERS team; image processing by Ricardo Hueso (UPV/EHU) and Judy Schmidt.

We could spend all day looking at images from the James Webb Space Telescope, to be honest, but this one of Jupiter’s aurora sent the newsroom into a real tizzy. Read more.

What if Borane was a lion?

Drawing of a lion on a gold field with borane drawn in gold on its back, holding a hydrogen molecule in its teeth
Hoshimoto’s concept art for the new Scholars Reaction. The lion – boranes and 2-methylquinoline – finds and retains hydrogen molecules. Credit: Y. Hoshimoto

Illustrating chemical breakthroughs is difficult because the molecules are too small to see. This stunning image depicts a catalyst that could safely store hydrogen – the lion’s catalyst chooses hydrogen over all the carbon-based rocks around it. Read more.

octopus slime throwers

A throw from a female octopus which strikes a male attempting to mate with her / Credit: Godfrey-Smith et al, 2022, PLOS ONE, CC-BY 4.0

Australia’s ‘dark octopuses’ have been caught tossing debris, sometimes at each other. Read more.

The year of the Football World Cup, a computer learns to play football from scratch

Video demonstrating the machine learning study. Credit: Liu et al., Sci. Robot. 7, eabo0235.

This video, showing a football game simulated by a machine learning program without any knowledge of football, its rules or its tactics, had the entire newsroom laughing. Read more.

Sandy, purest, cutest, goofy

Dingo
Sandy the pure desert dingo at three weeks old. Credit: Barry Eggleton/UNSW

It turns out that dingoes have almost completely pure ancestry – and we know that, in part, thanks to Sandy Malaki, a pure, wild-born Australian desert dingo. Awww. Read more.

Glow-in-the-dark spider fossils

Scientific figure composed of a photograph of a spider fossil in rock with a white box superimposed on the abdomen.  The white box is an inset image showing (top) a chemical map of pink silica molecules and yellow sulfur molecules along with a monochrome scanning electron microscope image of the region
Spider fossil from the Aix-en-Provence Formation with white box indicating location of scanning electron microscopy image and chemical map of sulfur (yellow) and silica (pink) seen top right . Together they reveal a black, sulfur-rich polymer on the fossil and the presence of two types of siliceous microalgae: a mat of upright diatoms on the fossil and centered diatoms scattered in the surrounding matrix. Credit: Alison Olcott.

When a team of French scientists popped this spider fossil under UV light, “more or less on a whim”, they were stunned to find it glowed, thanks to tiny creatures called diatoms. Read more.



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