Oct 18, 2014
Their Unique Discovery
Winter is approaching and with it, the promise of snow. Whether you are a lover or hater of the white stuff, it is pretty amazing to think that each of the flakes you see are different. The discovery of this fact was made by a man named Wilson A. Bentley, nicknamed “Snowflake” Bentley.
Wilson was homeschooled as a boy and fascinated with the world around him. His mother gave Wilson a microscope to help him explore nature. Wilson loved observing everything around him, especially the snow. Growing up in Jericho, Vermont provided Wilson the perfect opportunity to observe snow closely and in large amounts.
After a year of failing to photograph a snowflake under a microscope, Wilson finally succeeded in 1885. He would go on to capture thousands of snowflake photographs, forever changing the scientific field with his conclusions. Bentley said of his years of work, “Under the microscope I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty.” Here are just a few of his captures.
Wilson Bentley’s insight into no two snowflakes being the same still stands up to research today. Jon Nelson, a research scientist who studies snowflakes, has confirmed that the adage is most likely true that no two snowflakes are identical. The difference is due to the ice crystals riding air currents up and down through different areas of temperatures and humidity that leave differing marks on the flakes growth and shape.