Snow Science: Snowflakes Are Drawn Wrong


304516207_e37d9a277cNo 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