Dec 17, 2012

Crystal Bliss

You know those stunningly symmetrical, glittery snowflakes you see everywhere at a certain time of year—hanging from streetlights, stitched on sweaters, and sprinkled all over TV? Those perfectly-etched pictures are all a big lie. Latif Nasser explains how it all began on a cold, snowy farm in Vermont in 1880, when a kid named Wilson Bentley put a snowflake under a microscope and started a lifelong quest to capture perfection. Bentley took tens of thousands of photos throughout his life, and his books catalog a decades-long parade of gorgeous, six-sided works of natural art. But his crystal-clear vision of reality was tied to a set of ideals that ultimately blinded him from the cold, hard facts in front of him. Snowflake expert and photographer Kenneth Libbrecht helps set the record straight, even as he chases after more and more perfect flakes.



Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity

Duncan C. Blanchard, The Snowflake Man: A Biography of Wilson A Bentley

Ken Libbrecht, The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes

Ken Libbrecht, Ken Libbrecht's Field Guide to Snowflakes

W.A. Bentley, Snowflakes in Photographs

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