No two snowflakes are a like, that much is true, but here’s an interesting piece of trivia: Those cute little cut-out snowflakes you and your kids might make in the wintertime? They aren’t scientifically accurate.
That’s according to Thomas Koop of Bielefeld University in Germany who, after noticing an 8-sided snowflake on an advertisement for Nature, set the record straight. From Tonic:
Koop reminds us that owing to the molecular structure of water, when the temperature drops and the substance changes from liquid to solid state of matter, a set geometric pattern will be revealed. The crystalline structure that will form and grow as the minuscule ice crystal develops into a snowflake will always be hexagonal.
Try explaining that to your five-year-old.
While he’s on the subject, Koop would also like us all to know that raindrops are not tear-shaped when they fall, despite being depicted that way in picture books and drawings. Rather, they are spherical.
Next he’s going to tell us that the sun doesn’t really have a smiley face:
I don’t know if sharing these facts with your kids while they draw will impress them or annoy them, but if you’ve got a kid whose interested in what real (and accurate!) snowflakes look like, check out this gallery from LiveScience.
Photo: trec_lit, Flickr
Photo: Jameskids’art, Flickr