8 of our favourite science pictures and videos from 2022

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

Here are eight of our favourite pictures and videos of the year, taken or made by scientists.

A deep-sea batfish

Batfish: beige, round flat fish with round black eyes, short spiky tail an two fins poking out its back that resemble legs
The deep-sea batfish, which uses its armlike limbs to cross the sea floor. Batfishes have hollow snouts containing tiny fishing lures to attract prey. Credit: Benjamin Healley / Museums Victoria

Museums Victoria took the CSIRO ship RV Investigator out for a spin to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands this year, and saw some terrific things, like this batfish. Read more.

Lego timelords

Lego bulding of quantum time experiment with scientist, two clocks and nuclear reactor
Quantum physics with…lego. Professional timelord Michael Wouters illustrated the time experiment he works on with bricks: here’s two caesium clocks and ANSTO’s nuclear reactor, right, in blue.

How do you illustrate a story about a physics-breaking theory of time travel that’s being experimentally tested in a security-restricted nuclear facility? With Lego, of course. Professional timelord Michael Wouters made this rendition of a caesium clock, nuclear reactor and scientist (not to scale). Read all about it in Issue #94 of the magazine.

JWST’s Jupiter

Jwst 2022 07 27 jupiter 2color
Webb NIRCam composite image of Jupiter system. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; image processing by Ricardo Hueso (UPV/EHU) and Judy Schmidt.

We could spend all day just looking at James Webb Space Telescope images, to be honest, but this one of Jupiter’s aurorae 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 researchers’ new reaction. The lion – boranes and 2-methylquinoline – finds and holds the hydrogen molecules. Credit: Y. Hoshimoto

Illustrating chemical breakthroughs is hard because molecules are too small to see. This stunning picture represents a catalyst that could safely store hydrogen fuel – the lion catalyst is choosing hydrogen, rather than all of the carbon-based rocks around it. Read more.

Octopus mudslingers

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

Australia’s ‘Gloomy Octopuses’ have been caught throwing debris – sometimes at each other. Read more.

In the year of the Football World Cup, a computer learns to play soccer from scratch

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

This video, demonstrating a soccer match simulated by a machine learning program with no knowledge of football, its rules, or tactics, had the whole newsroom cackling. Read more.

Sandy, the purest, cutest, dingo

Sandy the pure desert dingo at three weeks of age. Credit: Barry Eggleton / UNSW

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

Surprise glow-in-the-dark spider fossils

Scientific figure consisting of a photograph of a spider fossil in rock with a white box overlaid on the abdomen. The white box corresponds to an inlaid image showing (top) a chemical map of pink silica molecules and yellow sulphur molecules and also 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 sulphur (yellow) and silica (pink) seen in upper right. Together these reveal a black sulphur-rich polymer on the fossil and the presence of two kinds of siliceous microalgae: a mat of straight diatoms on the fossil and dispersed centric diatoms 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 astounded to discover it glowed, thanks to tiny creatures called diatoms. Read more.

Please login to favourite this article.