We all have seen cool science images either in National Geographic or in textbooks at school. Some of the naturally occurring facets of nature are actually very beautiful. Princeton University's Art of Science Competition this year yielded some interesting artistic, nerdy photography.

"C. instagram," which you can see above, is actually an image of writhing C. elegans--you're looking at worms on an agar plate that's blanketed with E. coli bacteria. Sounds completely nasty, but it looks gorgeous right?

Researchers aren't exactly trying to make a Matisse when they work, however the images above reveal that science can be beautiful. However, sometimes these images can have a very helpful, practical use. "Connections" is the theme of this year's art show because images have played a large role in advancing scholarship. Many breakthroughs in the science world have come from connections made through comparing images of nature's phenomena.

"For example, with physics and biology, everyday there is a new finding showing that the two are connected in the most fascinating and profound way," Andrew Zwicker, director of science education at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, said. "In a similar vein, connecting the aesthetics of laboratory images to their scientific importance has transformed how we look at our data and results. With the 2013 Art of Science competition, we are celebrating all manner of connections."

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[via NBCNews]