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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Can you see God in a snowflake?

When we closely examine individual snowflakes, we quickly learn that there are intricate and beautiful geometric details present in each flake that we observe. Indeed, if we do it long enough, we will be struck by the number of variations present among them. Each one appears to be different and unique.
It is interesting to note that each snowflake starts as a perfect little hexagon shaped crystal. Thus whatever shape the "finished" snowflake assumes, six-fold symmetry will be present in every single snowflake we observe.
The wide variety of shapes and sizes that we observe is caused by variations in temperature and humidity within the clouds where the snowflakes form. Hence, scientists have determined that a snowflake can assume one of 10 followed by 158 zeros possible configurations - that's more than the estimated total number of atoms present in our universe! That fact alone makes it extremely unlikely that we'd ever be able to find two snowflakes exactly alike. Moreover, scientists have observed snowflakes that vary in width from .2 mm (dust) to 5 mm (many of the details being readily visible to the naked eye).
I encourage my readers to take a look at some of the images of snowflakes that scientists and professional photographers have been able to capture. The beauty and complexity is guaranteed to astound even the most jaded individual in my audience!
When I think about the mind behind the phenomenon, it causes me to appreciate anew the greatness and limitless glory that is our God. The geometric symmetry alone causes one to wonder at the mathematical genius at work inside the clouds. Yes, I can see God in a snowflake - can't you?

** Technical information taken from the article The Science of Snowflakes by Catherine Zentile, appearing at http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/science-of-snowflakes/

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