Kenneth Libbrecht knows perhaps more than anyone should about the science of snowflakes. He had his first exposure to the subject during many cold winters growing up on a farm outside of Fargo, North Dakota. He eventually made his way out of the snow and into the sun of Southern California, becoming a professor of physics at Caltech.
In the mid 1990's, Libbrecht's interest in the molecular dynamics of crystal growth led him back to his roots and into to a detailed study of how ice crystals grow from water vapor, which is essentially the physics of snowflakes. This ongoing endeavor seeks to better understand how crystals grow and how complex patterns emerge in the process. Libbrecht also furthered the art of snow crystal photography and has taken over 10,000 pictures of all different types of snowflakes. His books display many beautiful photographs and describe how these diminutive ice sculptures manage to appear, quite literally, out of thin air. In 2006, the U.S. Post Office created a set of commemorative first-class postage stamps featuring Libbrecht's snowflake photographs.
More news and views about snowflakes can be found at Libbrecht's web site -- www.SnowCrystals.com.