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water is even more unique when frozen | Snowflake Bentley

'A New Life in the Sea' by Michael LombardiMy days are spent fascinated by water – be it the life it supports, the alien environments it harbors, and even the marvels that the molecule itself makes possible. Yesterday was no exception.

I woke up here in Connecticut to more than 18 inches of snow on the ground. This recent massive winter storm was by far the most significant that I have experienced in memorable history. With my day-job as a commercial diver being postponed due to weather, I had to assume snow removal duties. Shovelling snow is honestly my worst nightmare, as I can find nothing joyous about breaking my back moving literally several tons of frozen disaster zone. Trying to find some appreciation in the situation, to muscle through what turned into nearly 6 hours of shovelling today, I thought about the uniquity of snow itself.
Snowflakes in Photographs 

Many of us have heard the phrase ‘no two snowflakes are alike’. This discovery was made in the small rural town of Jericho, Vermont by Wilson A. Bentley (1865-1931). Bentley’s snowflakes became part of my world over the past few years during my journeys to Vermont.

Snow flakes by Wilson Bentley. Bentley was a b...Bentley was a pioneer in the field of photomicrography. In particular was his extensive work in documenting the structure of snowflakes. Through painstaking innovation, he became the first person to photograph a single snowflake in 1885. During his lifetime, he photographed more than 5000 individual snowflakes, and indeed did not find any two alike. His snow crystal photomicrographs were displayed at universities and public exhibitions around the world and were published in magazines including Scientific American and National Geographic.
I find it fascinating that every snowflake is unique, and that the properties of water provide for this uniquity when freezing. When I looked outside yesterday morning, I saw hundreds of trillions of snowflakes awaiting my close and personal attention…inspiring when considered in the context of Snowflake Bentley, but I still prefer my water in the wet variety.

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