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Around the same time, and much closer to home, Vermont's most important newspaper, the Burlington Free Press, featured Bentley in a large two page feature. With a circulation of about 30 thousand, the modest distribution is emblematic of Bentley's own humble beginnings. The three stories had the potential to reach an incredible 17 million people! Bentley could have scarcely imagined such wide spread recognition when he did his speaking tours around the Northeast.
Or when his book had it's small run published in During the s, at the height of his fame, he was known around the world as The Snowflake Man. I first heard of Bentley nearly twenty years earlier, in when I was working at the Research Laboratory of the General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York, trying to develop a way to measure the sizes of raindrops.
One day Vincent Schaefer, the discoverer of dry-ice cloud seeding, showed me an article he thought would interest me. Indeed it did. He was the first American scientist to measure raindrop size and used that information to deduce how raindrops are formed high up in the clouds. I put his article in my files, and years later after learning about his incredible feat of using a microscope to photograph snowflakes, decided to write articles or even a book about this amazing farmer-scientist from Jericho.
He was a crazy guy. He spent all his time taking pictures of snowflakes. I spent a delightful hour with Mrs. I wrote to Blair in September. She soon replied, starting a happy exchange of letters that continued for the better part of the next thirty years. I wish I could be of some real help to you in gathering together material on his life and work. Unfortunately, as so frequently happens, his amazing skill was not recognized at a time when information concerning him was readily available.
It does seem unfortunate that a man whose reputation has become worldwide is so little known in his own town and state. Miss Martha Caldwell of our related Art area, and I, have been trying, through the past few year, to gather additional information about his life and work but lack of time has curtailed us.
Blair had been interested in Bentley long before I first wrote to her. From time to time she wrote long letters, including drawings, to friends and family. Her letter of March had a full page devoted to Bentley. Blair concludes her letter on a sad note:. A month later Blair, in a whirlwind of activity, wrote a script not only for a Bentley program on Vermont ETV, but for talks about Bentley at churches or any other group that wanted them. The slides that were used of course added to the zest.
The 2 x 2s made for the television program turned out very well and are now available for additional presentations. I am trying to enlarge the collection of slides. The snowflakes are especially exciting when thrown on the screen. Much interest was shown. We are even contemplating of going into business for the benefit of a Bentley collection.
Bentley as a boy. I will have a talk with him, for he is anxious to relate some of his memories. I will see if I can tape his tales or keep a close record which he can later edit. A 4-H group in town has become interested and are working on some kind of an exhibit for the town hall—at long last! The grant was approved, and the girls began to gather information on Wilson Bentley. This was typical of Blair, to keep herself in the background, and let others take the credit.
During a trip to Jericho in the summer of to interview people about Bentley, I finally met Blair. She was delightful. Her enthusiasm not only for Bentley but for Jericho history in general was quite evident. Words came tumbling rapidly from her mouth and confirmed what her letters had told me, that she was a whirlwind of knowledge and ability to organize projects. This was the first of several occasions that I had the privilege to meet this human dynamo.
Wagner was a boy when Bentley was about. He does have some interesting tales to tell, and I am sure would enjoy the telling. A year later I visited him at his home in Burlington and taped many of his stories about Bentley. It was in Weatherwise magazine] thank you so very much. My appreciation too for your kindness in considering that I was of help—mighty meager except for enthusiasm for what you are doing. This seems to be a Bentley year, and I have reaped considerable unearned credit! They evidently no longer had the originals. Later the Audubon Magazine did an article reproducing the snowflakes on a silver background.
They are lovely. Goldstein wrote the script and her husband did the acting. Their son supplied background guitar music and a song. Alric Bentley lent out some four years ago. I tried last year and had a promise that the borrower would take them directly to Mrs. A few weeks ago Mrs. Hunt called. The girl that had never produced them, this time she brought them to the office, and once again she promised to take them to the owner. But at that point the material was in my hands and I held on! Tomorrow I will take it back to Mrs.
(IUCr) In meso in situ serial X-ray crystallography of soluble and membrane proteins
Hopefully I will also have a bit more time for extra interests and keep my home files in better shape. Hopefully, if the good fairies are with us, the Jericho Historical Society would like to buy the building to use as a community center including space for as much of the Bentley materials as we can obtain. We have been working for about a year and are far, far from the goal that must be met, but we keep plugging.
I learned about her recently from the people who purchased her home on Grand Isle. For a brief moment we thought we had found an unknown treasure chest. The town did vote to purchase the mill, and soon we will be working out the legal aspects of transfer and then rental back to the Historical Association.
Should you be thinking of any journeys in this direction, perhaps we could work something out. There are so many who would be interested. Included with her letter was a beautifully put together brochure describing the Chittenden Mill that had been declared a National Historic Site.
The Jericho Historical Society, a tax-exempt organization, would like to preserve the Mill and make it a community center. To accomplish this, the Society proposes that the town of Jericho purchase the Mill, together with the water rights and designated property consisting of approximately four and a half acres for lease to the Historical Society at a nominal annual rental. But this is not an adequate excuse for neglecting to say a very warm and appreciative thank-you for your generous gift to the Mill effort.
We will tag it for some part in the Bentley exhibit. The undertaking looks huge but less impossible all the time. The first month of running the shop was, we felt, very successful, and each week it improves and grows. Having something open and in action does a tremendous job in creating interest in the Mill. It is most generous, and I will write again when I have had more time to talk with printers. We now have a Snowflake Room in the shop, and it is of course attracting considerable attention.
Blair had asked me if I would talk about Bentley to the Historical Society. We can adjust to your schedule. His mother I understand had a letter from Bentley that he now has in his office. More than two years passed. I was getting more and more involved with my students and research at the University at Albany, and did little on the Bentley story, nor did I write to Blair. Somehow I resent others getting into print when you have put so much of yourself in gathering information.
I believe you loaned him many of the Bentley articles. I have a nephew who soon will be going to Japan on business. The man is an artist and they knew Bentley. I have a news clipping about them and keep hoping for time to look them up. We are about to advertise for bids on the first real restoration work. The shop prospers and enthusiasm for the project seems to grow. I wrote to Blair two weeks later and told her that the author of that book is Dr. Kobayashi, a friend of mine. We exchanged many letters as he prepared his manuscript.
I did not try to get a translation, as I doubt I would learn anything new. Blair replied late in February and wasted no time in telling me of her latest involvement in the Bentley story. I was unaware of the reference to the Reverend Henry Crocker and so wrote to inquire about the source. I think the Rev. Crocker went to Chester and was evidently one of the leading lights in the formation of the National Survey there.
Crocker back in and wrote to his grandson who was president of the National Survey. He told me that his grandfather did correspond with Bentley though he had none of the letters. The Time ad said that a magazine article about Bentley by the Rev. Crocker brought Bentley the recognition he deserved.
I am skeptical about this, as I am about a similar claim by Henry Seeley, a civil war veteran. I understand it has been taken down. I wrote them to see if it might be an exhibit that we might inherit if they no longer plan to use it. They wrote to say it is to be kept, but could be made available for an exhibit if we would like it for a limited time. I am wondering if it would be worth bringing to Jericho, or whether we may have duplicates of their collection.
Any suggestions? I replied and said I had seen the exhibit before it was taken down. Each picture was quite small, and because of the way they were displayed, I did not find them attractive. I doubt that it is worth your time and effort to get them to Jericho. We are hoping to work out some kind of a showing of our historical past this summer, probably August, and of course Bentley will provide much of interest.
Blair was referring to the long-lost Bentley film that I had discovered several years earlier, and therein lies an interesting story. Some of the first people I interviewed told me that a movie had been made of Bentley, but when I asked them who did it and where it was, they had no idea.
In the summer of , when I was in Weston talking with Alice Bentley Hamalainen, I said I had heard rumors about a Bentley movie, and asked if she knew anything about it. She returned with a small dusty, burlap bag tied at the top. I untied it and pulled out a canister containing some mm movie film. Could this be it? I was excited as I took the reel of film, unwound some and held it up to some light. I could see a figure on several frames.
Yes, this had to be long-missing movie of Bentley!
I was certain of that. The movie, only a few minutes long, was made about when photographers from Pathe News had Bentley take his camera out in the yard beside his house. Bentley showed how he picked up a snow crystal and placed it in front of a microscope that was attached to his camera.
They had him wear his best dress-up clothes, white shirt and collar, black tie, dark overcoat, and a soft felt hat. Bentley must have fussed and fumed over this, as he never worked out of doors with his camera, and he certainly never dressed up when he did his photography. But his anger must have reached record levels when the photographers thought it would be nice to have snow falling while their cameras were rolling.
No problem. Instead of having snowflakes falling slowly and uniformly over Bentley, large chunks of snow fell like hailstones, hitting his hat and shoulders producing splashes of snow that dotted his hat and coat with white blotches. Not to worry. Snow was snow. The camera kept rolling and captured a disgruntled Bentley. In Blair was the prime mover behind a drive to get the Postal Service to issue a commemorative stamp for Bentley and his snow crystals.
She had her eye on the stamp being issued in just in time for the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. I wrote to six scientists I had met at conferences and asked them to send the letters to Blair. Aufm Kampe. He was aware of and greatly admired the work of Wilson Bentley. I am also going to pursue some of the Olympic people and the ski industry here in Vermont.
If nothing else, it will make an interesting file. The other scientists Blair mentioned did write letters praising Bentley and his work and made it clear that he was known and admired far beyond the borders of the United States. They highly recommended the issue of a commemorative stamp. But it was not to be. This time, Mary Lighthall, who has photographed some snow crystals, talked about the difficulties involved. It added a nice dimension.
We also used the Bentley movie. She could hardly believe her eyes. I understand that a Burlington photographer was with Pathe'. Nearly two years passed before Blair and I again exchanged letters. Is it possible to again use the plates and have more printed? I am scared to death to be responsible for them, but there is nothing better than your article to put in the hands of interested people.
It sounds like an ambitious undertaking and would of course entail the help of scientists. If you think it not too impossible an idea, I could write up a proposal to the AAAS [American Association for the Advancement of Science] to see if there might be help in funding such a project. She showed that dogged determination to aggressively pursue any possibility to reach her goal. I replied a month later, and said of course she could use the plates once again. In either case, as you say, you would need the help of scientists.
The difficultly as I see it, is that while there are a great many scientists, both in the United States and elsewhere, who are experts in atmospheric physics, there are very few who have the interest to go back half a century to study the works of people like Bentley. As I said in my first Bentley story, which you have, he did little creative work after about I think this is because nobody paid any attention to his work. In short, he was ahead of his time. Bentley had been bypassed. It was a pity, and I suppose this is one reason why I have such an interest in Bentley.
Why, in view of the many novel scientific ideas he had, was so little attention paid to him by other scientists? I hasten to add that the lack of attention was only from the scientific world.
The general public, especially during his last ten years, was well aware of the splendid photomicrographs he took. This is what the Buffalo Museum of Science has in mind, an exhibit of his work and ideas. They would need many thousands of dollars to get it off the ground. From March through February my letters from Blair appear to have been lost, but I have copies of four of mine to her from that time. Nearly two more years passed. Previously, he had sent me a copy of the monograph Snow Crystals by Kobayashi and Kuroda. I was pleased that we were sent a copy.
Of course there has been no response from the Stamp Committee. Would you be willing to go over the enclosed and make any changes you see, for use in the one-day cover they will have available? Do you plan to send the letters I got for you in from scientists around the world? Though they were dated long ago, I think they will help. I plan to visit Jericho this summer in preparation for my biography on Bentley.
Among other things, I will want to look at what the Jericho Historical Society has on Bentley,primarily the photographs, and to visit his old house once again to take more photos. I also want to tramp around the hills behind his house. Blair invited my wife and me to stay at her home on Cilley Hill. We had a wonderful time. Some of the items about Bentley I did not have, but Jean later made copies and sent them to me.
In mid-January Blair wrote to tell me about the one-day issue of the Bentley commemorative envelope with the one-day cancellation stamp. She very much hoped I would come. I did attend the Friday celebration, arriving at the elementary school as the crowd was gathering. There was snow on the ground and in the air, perfect for a Bentley celebration.
There was excitement among the many children as they looked at the numerous beautiful displays of snow crystals and Bentley materials. A giant snow crystal was hanging high above the auditorium floor. Blair seemed to be everywhere, checking the presentations, helping children, and even greeting visitors as they arrived.
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The big event planned for the evening was to be a slide presentation by a local meteorologist on weather and Wilson Bentley. But at the time the slide show was to begin, there was no meteorologist. Children were seated on the floor, anxiously awaiting the show. Blair asked me if I could say something about Bentley if the speaker does not show up in the next 5 to 10 minutes. Here I was with no slides, no notes, or any visual displays to help me tell about The Snowflake Man. After about 10 minutes, there was still no speaker. I suddenly decided not to tell about Bentley and his snowflakes, especially sinceI had no slides to show, but to tell them about how Wilson Bentley became the first person in the United States to measure the sizes of raindrops.
Although they knew about his snowflake work, I suspected they knew nothing about his pioneering work with raindrops and how they formed high up in the clouds. I was several minutes into the raindrop story when, to my great relief, the scheduled speaker arrived. He set up his slides and soon took over. It was a huge success. If you are up this way again, it might be worth giving her a call. We did a Bentley program on Across the Fence [television program on stories and places relating to Vermont] this past Wednesday and gave it publicity.
T hen this afternoon I spoke at the Burlington Library. I was glad to see someone there on guard at all times. Otherwise it would be far too easy for some unscrupulous person to walk off with some of the priceless items on display. Blair wasted no time in taking action. She is Mrs.
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We could not raise the rest, so she was inquiring of IBM what to do. Nice people. They said to use it some other way. Jean had written to Mrs. Carr but never heard back. Blair had given me Mrs. I eventually learned she was representing Mrs. Agnes Manson, the owner of the microscopes. Carr was very reluctant to give me Mrs.
She said there should be no question about the workings of the microscopes since Bentley described them clearly in his articles. It was then that she told me that Mrs. Manson lived in Chester, Vermont. I called Mrs. I visited her in June It was exciting to see and hold the microscopes that Bentley had worshiped and used so effectively for 46 years.
The fine-focus knob on his microscope was in a much different position than it is on modern day microscopes. I had not realized this before, thus my confusion. Over the next few years JHS, while anxious to get the microscopes, was in no position to do so. What money they had was used in several projects, especially one to restore the outside of the Mill. What happened next is a story of perseverance and determination by several people in the JHS to bring the Bentley microscopes to their rightful home in Jericho.
In March Ray Miglionico [the archivist who took over from Jean Smith] told me what had happened. They said that Mrs. Manson told them another buyer was interested. It was decided that a Special Edition Print would be issued to try to raise the funds necessary for the purchase. Manson to see the microscopes and made an offer to buy them if given enough time to raise the funds. She agreed. I remember a hot July day when a bunch of volunteers, Blair included, starting stuffing envelopes with reservation forms for the new print.
The prints would be ready for pickup by customers in December. The response was overwhelming! In November Wayne and I went back to Chester and brought the microscopes back to Jericho, along with many other items which went with them. There was great satisfaction when people came to pick up their prints, and were able to see the results of their support. Quite a number of years ago he approached me about doing another Bentley video. I never seemed to find time to make the follow-up contact until now, and thank goodness he had not lost interest.
He was enthusiastic and departed with background reading. Kerschner has set an October date to have a script in place. We have given him your address and phone number, so I expect you will hear from him. Two months later I heard from Blair again. He did not think he would have time to do much, but planned for October, so I am sure he will be in touch.
We have some IBM money that will be available for him so that will help, I hope. No letters were exchanged during the summer and fall of , but late in November Blair sent me a collection of sketches of Jericho people from times past. As you will find out all too soon, the Bentley piece could have been better. I was glad, however, to have some of the students in the high school participate. We had money left over from our other activities so I am quite free to send out copies to people such as you at no cost.
What a pleasure. We are gathering content for our next Historical Society Newsletter. It seems like a good way to keep Bentley before our readers. In September 19, , Bentley sent a letter to Dr. Charles Brooks, editor of the Monthly Weather Review, containing a list of all these auroras. The day after Christmas I sent Blair my story about Bentley and his observations of the auroras.
A month later Blair thanked me for the story. We have funds and a contract in the works for the redo of the roof. Work should start Sept. What a step forward that will be. We exchanged several letters after that, but the letters from Blair appear to have been lost. I have treasured the exchange of many letters with Blair. I saw Blair for the last time in July Blair died, at age 96, on October 27, in the stone house she built on Cilley Hill in Jericho.
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No one will ever completely replace Blair Williams. She was a whirlwind, dynamic, energetic, and unwavering in attempts to accomplish projects she thought were worthwhile. In her professional life she taught and was Chair of the Department of Home Economics at the University of Vermont, and in retirement wrote and published the history of the department. But perhaps she will best be remembered for her many achievements in her hometown of Jericho.
In addition to her work on the Bentley story, she was a charter member of the school board, and an initiator in the Jericho school hot lunch program. She donated land for the Jericho Center library, and started and for thirty years coordinated the First Congregational Church chicken pie suppers.
The picture shows a large ice crystal amid a roughly uniform sea of tiny frozen droplets. Between the large crystal and the frozen droplets lies a clear ice-free zone, a dry moat around an island of ice. Sometime prior to , Bentley took notice of this moat. Writing in the Monthly Weather Review in , he wrote One of the most singular, and doubtless most important, phenomena that occur in connection with the formation of window frost is this: The true crystalline varieties of window frost ordinarily, apparently, repel the minute liquid particles or droplets of water that frequently collect like tiny dew-drops on the glass, and freeze in granular form thereon.
The appearance of a physical repulsion between the ice and the surrounding droplets before they froze is indeed strong. So, in the next paragraph, he speculated about a possible mechanism. We can only conjecture as to the cause of this most interesting phenomenon. It may be of an electrical nature. Possibly both the snow and frost, and the liquid cloud or dew droplets, possess an excess of the same kind of electricity, positive or negative. If so they would naturally repel each other. It was just a brief bit of speculation before immediately returning to his main objective, which was describing his observations of frost.
Now the mechanism he described is wrong, but he was right on the mark with the idea that the phenomenon was important. Indeed, the same phenomenon occurs in clouds, playing a major role in the formation of rain. The real reason for the dry moat lies in the nature of liquid and solid water. At a given temperature, water molecules evaporate from liquid at a faster rate than that from ice. In other words, ice holds onto its molecules a little more strongly than the liquid.
So, the droplets show no net growth or evaporation. Then one of the droplets freezes. Although the surrounding vapor condenses on the crystal at about the same rate as that on the droplets, the crystal gives up fewer molecules to evaporation. So the crystal experiences net growth from the vapor, while drawing a net amount of vapor from the surroundings. This drawing of vapor to the crystal reduces the amount of surrounding vapor i. In this way, a dry moat forms around the crystal. Later, the other droplets freeze. The above explanation was probably first proposed by Alfred Wegener in after he too observed frost.
Wegener, though most famous for his theory of continental drift, was by profession a meteorologist. Like Bentley before him, he proposed that the process would also occur in clouds. Curiously, the next scientific article on window frost in by Ukichiro Nakaya, Masando Hanazima, and Kenzo Dezuno, also noted the dry moats around large ice crystals, but did not speculate on its origins. And just as the process occurs in clouds, so too it will occur on other surfaces. For example, the image below shows dry moats on acar hood. The lesson here, I think, is that study of something common and seemingly inconsequential e.
This is one of the things that distinguishes science from engineering. In this case of the dry moat, Wegener suggested that an ice crystal within a cloud of droplets would grow at the expense of the droplets, and this process would lead to large crystals that later precipitate. This rain-production mechanism is thought to produce most of the rain in midlatitudes.
Further observations of the dry moats has other applications to snow crystal growth in clouds. For example, the shape of the moat tells us how the water vapor gets distributed around a growing crystal. The distribution of vapor, in turn, influences the crystal shape and growth rate.
Notice in the image below how the ends of the column-shaped crystal lie closer to the droplets. Indeed, the ends have grown into the droplet region. This means that the faster-growing points of a crystal can grow into regions of higher humidity. By growing into regions of higher humidity, they can grow even faster. This effect largely explains why the familiar snow-crystal star is the fastest-growing natural snow crystal.
In second place lies the long, thin columns and needles. So, as Bentley surmised, the dry-moat phenomenon does have an important bearing on forms and structure of snow crystals. His observation was indeed most singular. See chapter Editors note by Peter Wolf. After a slow start to the winter snow season , Bentley would have been in his glory with the snowiest February on record in the Jericho area. On March 4th Jericho received 30 inches of snow, the largest March snowfall on record and third largest storm in history in the Burlington area. One can only wonder what Bentley's take would be on the current weather extremes that we are experiencing.
Is six your lucky number? Well it is today as we have two article on the six sides of snow crystals. Duncan Blanchard gives us a whimsical look into Johannes Kepler and his pondering of the nature of snow crystals. We also continue to receive image requests for text books and testing materials from various parts of the world. The images and knowledge of Bentley's work lives on still today.
Johannes Kepler was a great mathematician and astronomer. He is perhaps best known for his discovery of the three laws of planetary motion. He introduced the first two in his book Astronomia nova The New Astronomy. His first law is that the planets move in elliptical patterns around the sun, not in circular patterns. Something special indeed! He immediately grasped the beauty of the ideas of Copernicus. But he wanted to know why the planets moved faster when they were close to the sun, and was there any connection between the size of their orbits and the time it took to move around the sun.
He tried to answer these questions in his first book Mysterium cosmographicum Sacred Mysteries of the Cosmos. This book led to his meeting Tycho Brahe, probably the greatest observational astronomer who ever lived. Brahe had moved from Denmark to Prague in Kepler was now passionately devoted to studies of mathematics and astronomy. Still deep in thought as he walked home, it began to snow as he crossed the Charles Bridge in Prague. Nor was I able to think of something that, while being next to Nothing, would yet allow for subtle reflection.
Just then, by happy occurrence, some of the vapor in the air was gathered into snow by the force of the cold, and a few scattered flakes fell on my coat, all six-cornered, with tufted radii. By Hercules! Here was something smaller than a drop, yet endowed with a shape. And oh, what a portentous name it has, this thing most pleasing to Wacker, the lover of Nothing!
Here, it would appear, that Kepler with his sense of humor was engaging in a bit of word play. The German word for nothing is nichts, which is pronounced the same way as nix, the Latin word for snow. Since it always happens, when it begins to snow, that the first particles of snow adopt the shape of small, six-cornered stars, there must be a particular cause; for if it happened by chance, why would they always fall with six corners, and not with five, or seven, as long as they are still scattered and distinct, and before they are driven into a confused mass?
So what might be this cause? For snow is made of vapor, and when vapor first rises from the earth on account of its heat, it is a continuous substance, almost like a liquid, and is not divided into individual little starts of the sort we are considering. Is it through an inherent form, or rather by building from without? Does it form the six-cornered shape according to the dictates of the material, or rather out of its own nature, to which would be innate either the archetype of beauty that is present in the hexagon or an understanding of the purpose which the figure serves?
But he concludes that the mystery still remains. At these narrow passes there is a struggle between cold air and steam, and when they come into contact, the heat rises and the cold descends. Whatever steam settles on those edges is immediately frozen. And since a like amount of cold takes its place, whatever additional steam settles on the frost will also freeze, in continuous deposition, for as long as cold air intervenes and finds a direct way in.
It is because of this alternate rushing in and out that the frosted layers of vapor obtain striations and sharp radii. For what entrance, what exit, what narrow openings, what struggle can there be in the wide fields of the air? I concede that in their fall from above through the steamy air there could be some accretion of little tufts from the surrounding vapors.
But why in six places? What is the origin of the number six? Who shaped the little head before it fell, giving it six frozen horns? What cause establishes on that surface, at the very moment it condenses, six points for six radii to be connected all around?
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Why, if internal heat is responsible for this, does it operate only on a plane surface? For heat distributes itself uniformly in all places, and is not present only on a flat surface of vapor. Kepler leaves this topic and goes on at great length to other considerations. He discusses what he calls a vital or formative faculty in plants. He writes that.
In the case of snow, it seems ridiculous that each little flake should have its own soul, for which reason one should not conclude that the shapes of snowflakes arise in the same way as those of plants, from the work of a soul. Kepler ends his speculation on the cause of the six-cornered snowflake by speaking directly to his patron von Wackenfels. Kepler was not the first person to notice the six-fold symmetry of the snow crystals.
Who was the first? We will never know, but surely it must have been many tens of thousands of years ago when some curious, inquisitive creature, a member of our species Homo sapiens, first noticed the infinite variety of snow crystals and their six-fold symmetry. What caused this symmetry? It is possible that a lecture by Wilson Bentley on snow crystals was a motivation for Dr.
William Barnes to discover the shape of the water molecule. In January Bentley gave several lectures in Montreal. Barnes, who was interested in the physics of ice, was in the audience. He had discussions with Bentley about the shape of snow crystals. Four years later he would make history by being the first to show by careful experiment that the water molecules in a unit cell of ice locked themselves together in a hexagonal structure.
Several years earlier, Sir William Bragg, a Nobel Laureate for his work with x-rays and crystal structure, had deduced on theoretical grounds the hexagonal structure of ice, but it was Dr.
Crystals For New Home
Barnes who first showed that the theory was correct. Barnes may have been influenced in his choice of research topics by his father, a physics professor at McGill University in Montreal. This book is a new translation from Latin. It was published in by Paul Dry Books. Some of the photographs had never been displayed before. A small booklet of photographs had come into the hands of a Burlington resident, after being found stashed in the eaves of a house in nearby Bolton. Some of the newly found prints, as well as a items from the Jericho Historical Society, were selected and prepared for the exhibit at SLU.
The Bentley exhibit complimented a larger exhibition in the Brush Gallery. The illustration with this article is of the announcement card produced by SLU for the exhibit. And yet all our technology comes back to what Bentley demonstrated so well, that science- like music, art, and writing is accomplished in the details. Only with each of us attending to the details of our particular exploration and sharing what we discover there, can we continually grow in our knowledge of the world and come to recognize that we live surrounded by incredible beauty and wonder. Why not five or seven, as Kepler asked 1?
Though we can now answer the last two questions, the first, as pondered by Bentley and many others, still awaits a complete answer. Specifically, if you could zoom in about a million times into any region of a snow crystal, such as the corner in figure 1A below, you would see a lattice of hexagonal rings B — like a microscopic internal honeycomb. The oxygen atoms black in each ring have the six-fold symmetry. The honeycomb inside ice is not so simple. Inside the surfaces of a simple hexagonal snow crystal A. Dashed red lines in B mark the crystal surface.
The tiny arrows in C show the same hydrogen atom in both the top view top and front view bottom. Oxygen atoms are black, hydrogens are red, and lighter colors indicate further away. However, the simple answer has two problems. The internal honeycomb just gives us a similarity between the ice lattice and the crystal form — it suggests that the crystal may develop six-fold symmetry. Moreover, to say that the six-sided nature comes from the hexagonal lattice just raises the next question: How did the lattice get its six-fold symmetry?
The 4-pole tetragonal model of water. Why is the lattice hexagonal? A common answer is that the shape of the water molecule forces the molecules to link up into 6-sided rings. Though true, it conflicts with another, little-known fact about water: depending on the water pressure and temperature, water can crystallize into, at last count, 14 other lattices, only two of which are hexagonal.
One could argue that ice 1h is the more natural form, as it requires neither very low temperatures nor any externally applied pressure. But what are these forces and how do they produce hexagonal rings? Bentley thought the forces were electromagnetic and in proposed an electromagnetic water model to help explain the six-sided nature of ice.
And it was far ahead of its time. In , twenty-three years later, Bernal and Fowler, two pioneering ice physicists, proposed a four-pole model of water to help explain the structure of ice. These negative poles, which are predicted by quantum mechanics, are shown as the dotted light-blue spheres. And just as Bentley had included additional secondary poles, later models added poles of weaker charge. As a result, each molecule bonds to two other molecules in the ring, as shown in Fig.
Electrical forces between the hydrogens and lone-pairs dashed blue force the water into a hexagonal ring A and slightly widen the opening angle of the water molecule to The hexagon shape occurs because the angle between the two poles on a moleculelies close to that needed for a corner of a hexagon. In particular, this angle for a free molecule i. This So the tetragonal nature of water naturally leads to a hexagonal lattice 3. As to why the water molecule is tetragonal, the answer involves the quantum electrodynamics of oxygen and hydrogen, and best left for those with much more time.
As an aside, the tetragonal bonding leads to some curious and important properties of ice. The resulting hexagonal structure is relatively open, with large empty spaces in the rings, and for this reason ice 1h will float on liquid water. Also, as mentioned above, if we pay attention to the hydrogens, we see that the rings are not really symmetric.
Moreover, the hydrogen positions have no order; notice in figure 4 below how each ring is different from its neighbors. And this lack of order leads to the curious electrical properties of ice — properties that include their being the electrical power source of thunderstorms 4. How rings link together in the hexagonal plane. Not all rings have the same water molecule orientations. Rings in the planes directly above and below line up perfectly, being linked at hydrogens or lone-pairs either directly on top shown here of every other oxygen or directly below not shown.
The answer involves looking at what happens where a ring contacts a crystal surface. Molecules on the surface experience unequal forces — they are pulled more towards the inside of the crystal — but these forces depend on which parts of the rings contact the surface. When only one molecule from each such hexagonal ring lies at the surface, like in the surfaces marked by red dashed lines in Fig. And in the world of growing crystals, the slow-growing faces are the ones that spread out along the crystal, effectively erasing the other faces.
It may seem strange, but for crystal faces, the fast-growers essentially burn themselves out and vanish, while the slow-growers dominate. Sometimes it pays to be slow. Crystal faces red dashed lines cross each surface ring at only one molecule see arrow, face 2. In going around the crystal of figure 5, notice that the ring corners stick out at the surface for crystal faces 1 — 6. With only ring corners on the surface, the crystal can have neither more than six, nor less than six faces 5. So this is how the microscopic internal hexagonal rings produce six, and not four, five, or seven sides of the crystal.
A tiny six-sided prism grows wide and thin, sprouts branches, and maintains a remarkable degree of symmetry, allowing us to really notice its six-sided nature. Why do these things happen? This requires three other things to happen: First, the crystal must grow thin and broad, meaning that the top and bottom faces must grow much slower than the six side faces. Second, the corners must grow outward faster than the rest of the six faces. And third, each of the six branches should grow at nearly the same rate. As to why the crystal grows so thin, this was one of the first questions Kepler asked about snow.
And how the second and third occur has some interesting aspects and mysteries 7 that will be left for discussion elsewhere. For example, the branched crystal in figure 6 shows 90 faces not including top and bottom. But the argument still holds. We have chosen what we believe to be the quintessential snowflake design. Design concept drawing are below with casting set to begin in March and a release date in late April.
Once again, Danforth Pewter has created a wonderful addition to our Collection. Made exclusively for Vermont Snowflakes. Well, another year has past and Bentley's Birthday was , February 7th Recent discovery that his birthdate is the 7th, not the 9th, as previously believed. We also received some information from Wayne Howe on a piece in the works for Spanish Television. Thanks to everyone who supported us this past holiday season!!!
If you would like to contribute writings to this newsletter please. In the sixty or more articles written by Wilson Bentley, there is little indication that he had a sense of humor. But in my conversations with people who knew him, it became clear that he did indeed see humor in many of the things that happened in his everyday life, and practical jokes were part of the fun in growing up.
Not only did he initiate these jokes, but some were played on him. When very young, his delight in watching and trying to understand the ways of the birds resulted in learning how to imitate their calls. Sometimes when his mother was working in the house near an open window, he would hide outside and loudly whistle the call of a particular bird. Eventually his mother, curious to see this bird, would come out of the house only to find her young son grinning at her. On other occasions the jokes would be on visiting relatives and sometimes did not work the way Bentley hoped.
A great aunt from Montana came to visit one time when Bentley had a red squirrel in a cage with a wheel for the squirrel to run on. One evening he let the squirrel out near her. The squirrel ran up the outside of her dress and bit her ear. The young Bentley got no supper that night and his great aunt returned to Montana, probably vowing never to return to Jericho again.
His niece, Alice, had fond recollections of her uncle. He had his croquet games Sunday afternoon. There was always lots of lemonade, cookies, ice cream some days, and he had a special fudge he made from white sugar, and what they used to call vanilla drips. It was delicious. One Halloween he scared everybody to death. He fixed up a large bough from a balsam tree. It was wrapped in sheets and he had a face with a florescent design, built like a skeleton.
It came out of the third floor window. Bentley liked to play tricks. Alice told me about the time a cousin came to spend the night with one of her sisters. They were to spend the night in his spare bedroom. We used to have wood slats under the bed springs. He sawed then almost in two. So after they had been in bed awhile they heard snapping and cracking and wondered what that was. Pretty soon they found out. The bed went down. Alice told me what happened in Burlington one day when her uncle saw a big cloud over the Vermont Hotel.
A cop took after him. He thought he stole the camera from Lapierres. He got the picture from the roof of the hotel and then told the cop what he was doing. He wanted that cloud before it got away from him. He had a sugaring house up back. One time he was up there boiling sap well into the night.