Thursday, January 28, 2016

Snowflakes On Display

New in ThinkSpace, see close-up photographs of the intricate structures of snowflakes by Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht, a professor of physics at California Institute of Technology. Dr. Libbrecht studies the molecular dynamics of crystal growth, particularly how ice crystals grow from water vapor – or the physics of snowflakes. He has experimented with and perfected techniques for catching and photographing snowflakes, and he regularly grows his own designer snowflakes!

Graphic designer Valerie Haggerty-Silva installing the display.

The ThinkSpace “geometry gallery” features changing displays of objects that provide strong visual representations of spatial thinking, highlighting shapes in everyday life and the designed environment. Studying snowflakes is a great way to explore their geometric properties and to practice recognizing patterns within shapes, then to classify snowflakes into types. Dr. Libbrecht has identified about 35 types of snowflakes and his photographs allow for the close study of the structure of snowflakes and their geometry.

Click here to see more of Dr. Libbrecht’s snowflake photographs, as well as other resources and activities exploring snowflakes, snow crystals and other ice phenomena.

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