Ask Ethan: Could you have two perfectly identical snowflakes?
“I know scientists say that no two snowflakes are alike, but I say "how can you definitively know that unless you can see every single snowflake that falls.” Maybe a snowflake in Russia falls [at] the same time as a snowflake in Minnesota and they’re the same.“
When you see a snowflake, what you’re seeing is a thin crystal of ice, with intricate, hexagonally-symmetric features that reveal themselves under a microscope. Although snowflakes come in a myriad of different shapes and patterns, there’s one adage you’ve heard since you were a kid: that no two snowflakes are alike. From a scientific perspective, is that true? What gives snowflakes their intricate structures, and what does it truly mean for a snowflake to be unique? Do we require the exact same branching structure? Can we obtain that if we create them artificially? Do we require identical-ness down to a molecular or atomic level? And how much snow would we need for that to happen?