Ahead of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February, the winners of the very first Woman Science Photographer of the Year competition were announced today at an awards ceremony hosted by the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) in Bristol.


The awards have been specially set up by the RPS Women in Photography group. The aim of the group is to celebrate and educate female and female-identifying photographers around the world, and to encourage other women and girls to pursue their passion for science.

Entries were judged by a panel consisting of professional photographers Yas Crawford, Kym Cox and Gigi Williams, as well Teri Walker, chair of the RPS Women in Photography Group.

The winning image is 'Watershed Triptych', by Margaret LeJeune. This eye-catching picture shows maps of watersheds (areas of land where water converges) all lit by bioluminescent algae.

Winning the under 18 category was Kelly Zhang for her photograph 'The Beauty of Soap Bubbles', a portrait showing how light on the surface of a soap bubble can produce visually stunning patterns.

The winning images will be shown in an exhibition at the Royal Photographic Society, in Bristol, United Kingdom, until 30 March 2023.

Overall winner - Margaret LeJeune

Three green circles on black background
Three maps of various watershed maps from areas of the USA, lit by bioluminescent algae. This algae, also known as 'sea sparkle', generates red tide algal blooms, which can kill fish and other sea life. These three images show the largest watershed areas in the USA. Photo by Margaret LeJeune

Young Woman Photographer of the Year - Kelly Zhang

rainbow colours inside a soap bubble
Soap bubbles with swirling patterns on their surface caused by thin-film interference. Light reflected from the outer soap layer interferes with light reflected from the inner soap layer, resulting in this swirling multi-coloured surface. Photo by Kelly Zhang

Finalist - Lianna Nixon

people in red suits jump over a crack in the ice
A small group of atmospheric scientists from the MOSAiC Expedition team move a 'flux sled' across a crack in the ice in the Arctic. This is the first instrument deployed on the new MOSAiC floe, and will be used to study the surface reflectivity of sea ice. After weeks searching for the perfect ice floe, the MOSAiC Expedition team transported tonnes of research equipment onto the sea ice to study the central Arctic climate system and its future. Photo by Lianna Nixon

Finalist - Danielle Edwards

Bugs growing on potato skins
Green potato bugs (Cuspicona simplex) growing on a wooden surface. Bright lime green eggs were studied and photographed over time until eggs hatched and nymphs appeared. Once hatched, the nymphs continue to huddle in a group until eventually dispersing individually. Photo by Danielle Edwards

Finalist - Jindra Jehu

Lots of fungi growth emerging from plastic box
This piece, entitled 'Colony 2022', is a sculptural work made from paper and engine oil which has been transformed by the growth of Pink Oyster Mushrooms. The work questions the ability of the ‘grey kingdom’ to convert hydrocarbons into fungal sugars. Photo by Jindra Jehu

Finalist - Prelena Soma Owen

two hands holding a pangolin
Rescued white-bellied baby pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) gets prepared for its morning feed. Taken at Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria, at a centre that rescues, rehabilitates and releases pangolins. Photo by Prelena Soma Owen

Finalist - Irina Petrova Adamatzky

Blue alien-shaped head on black background
A photo of the skin of a corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus). It was made using ultraviolet light. Snakeskin glows in ultraviolet light, which herpetologists use to find snakes in the dark. Photo by Irina Petrova Adamatzky

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Finalist - Christine Fitzgerald

Four corals in colourful backgrounds
A photo collage created from a cross-section of an extinct rugose solitary coral from Anticosti Island, Québec, Canada. The coral is from the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction, which occurred approximately 450 million years ago. Photo by Christine Fitzgerald

Young Woman Photographer runner up - Lina Yeleuova

Green satellite in a box
In March 2022, more than 150 female participants of the UniSat educational program from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan launched three state-of-the-art nanosatellites into the stratosphere. The nanosatellites, which belong to a class of small spacecraft, are equipped with several cameras, one of which is capable of capturing elliptical images of the Earth in 4K resolution. Photo by Lina Yeleuova


James CutmorePicture Editor, BBC Science Focus

James Cutmore is the picture editor of BBC Science Focus Magazine, researching striking images for the magazine and on the website. He is also has a passion for taking his own photographs