Kepler’s Snowflakes


In honor of the 12th and final day of Christmas, I offer an illustration from Johannes Kepler’s ponderings on the origins of the snowflake. Too poor to buy a Christmas gift for a friend, Kepler penned an essay instead, “On the Six-Cornered Snowflake” (Strena Seu de Nive Sexangula). The short pamphlet, written in 1611, begins with Kepler crossing the Charles Bridge in Prague and noticing a snowflake land on his jacket. He goes on to ponder the geometry via a detour into Neoplatonism. Thus was born the first work of crystallography. If only we could replace the commercialism of the season with well crafted essays!

Hope you are all staying warm or cool (hello Australia!).


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  1. I love this – I have a theory that limitations spur creativity, and this is the perfect illustration of that theory.

  2. Off topic
    I just found out about Kelly. I’m glad to read she is OK,I wish her well in her recovery.
    I am having problems with your site. Many times I get the same post showing for a week or two and then I will get them all the posts at once.
    Not being a technical person I don’t know what is wrong.

    Anyway, I’m caught up for the moment Happy New Year!

  3. I am on my computer, a desktop one.
    I don’t get it through email, would that make a difference

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