The Man Who Discovered The Hidden Structure of Falling Snowflakes

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The Man Who Discovered the Hidden Structure of Falling Snowflakes

Amateur photographer Wilson A. Bentley thought snowflakes were "miracles of beauty."

Daily Brief

Beginning in the early 1880s, William A. Bentley devised a mechanism that combined a microscope with a view camera. He used light-sensitive glass plates to take sophisticated “portraits” of individual snow crystals. Over the years he made pictures of thousands of snow crystals, which is a daunting challenge, since he had to isolate individual crystals and there can be 200 of them in a large snowflake. He approached the Smithsonian in 1904 with nearly 20 years of photographs and a manuscript describing his methods and findings but they turned him down because they’re “unscientific,” so he sold many of his glass plates to schools and colleges.

Read the full story at Smithsonian Magazine