Kenneth G. LibbrechtISBN: 0896586308;
Physicist Libbrecht and photographer Rasmussen both grew up in snowy climes, but it took a scientific and aesthetic focus to deepen their appreciation for snow's hidden beauty, revelations they now share in a felicitous union of word and image. Libbrecht decodes the exquisite architecture of individual snowflakes by explaining how these "miniature ice masterpieces" are literally conjured out of thin air as water vapor condenses into ice in shapes dictated by the geometry of water molecules. Temperature, humidity, and motion all contribute to the forming of snow crystals, which shape-shift rapidly from simple faceted structures to complex branching forms, growing and falling at the rate of a million billion crystals a second. The physics of snow crystals is fascinating, and so, too, is Libbrecht's history of the science of snowflakes, which features Rene Descartes; Johannes Kepler; Vermont farmer Wilson Bentley, who pioneered a method for photographing individual snowflakes; and...
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