Snowflakes are pretty

By Emily Jane Dennis @emilyjanedennis It’s been cold here in NYC. After lots of mild weather, the last few cold days have been tough. Personally, I’ve found solace in three things: hockey, puppy sweaters, and snow.    These pictures, from William Bentley’s collection are simultaneously extremely familiar and eerily otherworldly… Whenever I look at phenomenal photographs I always want to know the story behind these pictures. Really, who gets paid to document and investigate snowflakes? The basics: Snowflakes/crystals are made of water molecules. They begin forming when water vapor gets cooled down quickly, forming droplets with dust. As these droplets freeze, they bump into other water molecules and droplets, and grows and grows (or doesn’t). Each snowflake is made of roughly 1,020,000,000,000 water molecules! (check  my math here- assumes a 3mg flake ) Lots of snowflakes are identical, but the more complex ones are very unlikely to have a twin. How do we know this stuff? Some really famous thinkers, Johannes Kepler**, René Descartes, & Robert Hooke (Mr. Microscope) described snowflakes as early as the 1600s, but true scientific investigation really started in the 1950s with Ukichiro Nakaya. Nakaya was a physicist and took pictures of ALL snow crystals (not