Author Ken Libbrecht will reveal “The Secret Life of a Snowflake” at Library

10/22/2010

Cal Tech Professor of Physics Ken Libbrecht will show photographs of snow crystals from his collection, describe their interesting features, and talk about the science of snowflakes at The Secret Life of a Snowflake, a special All Pikes Peak Reads program on Monday, Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd.

Libbrecht began studying the physics of crystal growth after discovering there are some real scientific puzzles where ice formation is concerned, for example, the dramatic crystal growth that accompanies rather small changes in temperature.

“People have known about this for 75 years, but the cause remains a mystery,” Libbrecht said. “I find this is the most fascinating scientific aspect of snowflakes, and I continue working to solve this puzzle.”

Libbrecht uses a microscope to take pictures of snowflakes but says that viewing snowflakes can be done with nothing more than an inexpensive magnifier.

“I always encourage people to look at the crystals that fall,” he said. “You can find some amazing structures if you go looking.”
Libbrecht’s program will impart knowledge about snowflakes that most people have never considered, including explaining capped columns, triangular snowflakes and other odd crystal forms, “even though these are often easy to find on a snowy day. You just have to look.”

Libbrecht is the author of many books about snowflakes including "Ken Libbrecht’s Field Guide to Snowflakes," "The Art of the Snowflake," and "The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes." For more information, or to set up an interview with Libbrecht, contact PPLD Media Specialist Travis Duncan at (719) 531-6333, x1202 or tduncan@ppld.org.