December 15, 2006

* Ode to The Snowflake Creator *

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. ~ Anne Bradstreet (1612 - 1672)
Imagine if you found a grove of trees planted in this shape, a sand drawing on the desert floor in this shape, all the Legos in your son's bedroom in this shape, or pebbles on your sidewalk in this shape....


... you would know beyond a shadow of a doubt... that it had to have a Creator.

Each one of these little icy flakes is like a Monet, a Rembrandt, or a Degas... skillfully and masterfully made. There are countless numbers of them across the globe, filling the sky in winter months... and not a single one is the same - for all of eternity!

Read more about the physics of snowflakes here (this site is AWESOME and extremely educational... so you homeschool moms should all get your bookmarking mouse-clickers ready). Here are a few noteworthy clips from his website's page about the "alikeness" probability:

Since a typical small snow crystal might contain 1018 water molecules, we see that about 1015 of these molecules will be different from the rest. These unusual molecules will be randomly scattered throughout the snow crystal, giving it a unique design. The probability that two snow crystals would have exactly the same layout of these molecules is very, very, very small. Even with 1024 crystals per year, the odds of it happening within the lifetime of the Universe is indistinguishable from zero.

Larger, complex snowflakes are all different. The number of possible ways of making a complex snowflake is staggeringly large. To see just how much so, consider a simpler question -- how many ways can you arrange 15 books on your bookshelf? Well, there are 15 choices for the first book, 14 for the second, 13 for the third, etc. Multiply it out and there are over a trillion ways to arrange just 15 books. With a hundred books, the number of possible arrangements goes up to just under 10158 (that's a 1 followed by 158 zeros). That number is about 1070 times larger than the total number of atoms in the entire universe!
Now when you look at a complex snow crystal, you can often pick out a hundred separate features if you look closely. Since all those features could have grown differently, or ended up in slightly different places, the math is similar to that with the books. Thus the number of ways to make a complex snow crystal is absolutely huge.

And thus it's unlikely that any two complex snow crystals, out of all those made over the entire history of the planet, have ever looked completely alike.
I'm updating my template to welcome in the winter tonight. *And I'm sipping delicious peppermint tea by Celestial Seasonings... and wearing my red plaid fuzzy pajama pants.* The temperature here in Arkansas today was so mild that it almost felt like fall again. I'll have to admit, it was nice since we had to load storage into our moving trailer. I do hope that we can at least have some colder weather for the holidays (even if we are spending them in Texas). Again I will say that winter actually begins next Thursday... but since I will be having fun with friends and family, the winter solstice will most likely go unnoticed by me, and thus not be blogged about. You'll just have to forgive me for jumping the seasonal gun here.


If you like the lovely ice crystal photos on that website (linked in the paragraph above and under the title of this post), you can see more of them at your local post office (albeit a tad less detailed than the online versions)! *follow that link to get free winter tips and craft ideas from the USPS* I laughed when I saw the stamps in the mail a week or so ago (since I've had that site bookmarked quite by "accident" for nearly a month now - waiting to blog at just the right 'wintry' moment). I'm sure you know by now if you are a regular here... I don't believe in accidents - not in coincidence with the events of our lives or with snowflake design! "God is in the details."

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Anonymous said...

I agree!

WOW those pictures are beautiful - I bookmarked the site to show my son - thanks :)

Unknown said...

Wow! What a gorgeous snowflake and such a beautiful quote.I agree, we are as unique as snowflakes. Thanks for sharing.

Sprittibee said...

Thanks Janice. I was really excited when I stumbled upon that site for the first time, too.

Christine - yep, each of our little blogs is a "unique and special snowflake". :)

Anonymous said...

What a neat site! Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to show it to my daughter. She'll love it!

Sprittibee said...

You're welcome Diana!



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