Designer Snowflakes

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Designer snowflakes described in University of Wisconsin-Madison news, 24 February 2009 and ScienceDaily 25 Feb 2009. Two mathematicians, David Griffeath of University of Wisconsin-Madison and Janko Gravner of University of California, Davis, have designed a computer model that generates the exquisite shape of snowflakes. All snowflakes have a basic hexagon structure, but there are multitudinous variations and embellishments on this structure that make each snowflake a work of art.

The mathematicians took four years to develop their computer model which designs beautiful 3D structures, whimsically referred to as “snowfakes”. The model “not only gets the basic shapes right, including fern-like stars, long needles and chunky prisms, but also fine elements such as tiny ridges that run along the arms and weird, circular surface markings.” Griffeath commented that the underlying theory and computations are so intensive they are "right on the edge of feasibility." He went on to say “Water is the most amazing molecule in the universe, pure and simple. It’s just three little atoms, but its physics and chemistry are unbelievable. Even though we've artfully stripped down the model over several years so that it's as simple and efficient as possible, it still takes us a day to grow one of these things.” Griffeath is now working with a UW-Madison meteorologist on using the model for further research into how the various types of snowflakes formed in clouds affect the amount of water falling to earth.

ScienceDaily UW-Madison

Editorial Comment: Snowflakes are often used as evidence for random processes producing increasing complexity and order and therefore producing evolution from chemicals to cells. The fact that it took two mathematicians using a computer four years to come up with something that only copies what is already in the real world proves that snowflake formation is not random – it is the result of creative design due to the inbuilt properties of water molecules. If you watch the slideshow of simulated snowflakes you will have to admit that those who designed both them and the slide show are worthy of your praise. How much more should we give thanks and praise to the Creator God who first made water in such a way that it would exhibit the properties it has. It is by the way the first substance mentioned in Genesis (1:1-2) and the earth was covered with it right from the start. Lastly snowflakes are actually no use in showing evolution of structure as they only produce the combinations that are possible due to the design restraints built into them. Think about it! (Ref. design, crystallisation, snow)

Evidence News 24 June 2009

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