To launch an upcoming study of snow in January, my class visted the Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry yesterday. While there, we saw a small exhibit on the photographs of Wilson "Snowflake Bentley." Bentley lived in Vermont in late 1800s and was the first person to take photographs of individual snowflakes. His story is beautifully illustrated by Mary Azarain in Jacqueline Briggs Martin's Snowflake Bentley (Caldecott Medal). His real photographs are also available in Snowflakes in Photographs by W.A. Bentley himself.
The exhibit, "A Snow Story," also included the stunning photography (see above) of a modern-day Snowflake Bentley, physicist Ken Libbrecht. He has a wonderful and informative website devoted to snow crystals, snowflakes and other ice phenomena.
Here are some interesting facts we learned from yesterday's field trip:
- Snowflakes are not white; they are clear.
- Chicago's biggest recorded snowfall of 23 inches was on Jan. 26-27, 1967.
- Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley took over 5000 photographs.