We’ve always heard that no two snowflakes are alike. It seems impossible?and it turns out that it IS impossible. Scientists are studying snowflakes because they think they may play an important role in global warming.

Snowflakes are created when snow crystals stick together. In LiveScience.com, Charles Q. Choi quotes cloud physicist Jon Nelson as saying that the number of snow crystals that fall to earth per year is “about 1 followed by 24 zeros.” A cubic foot of snow contains around a billion crystals. With numbers like that, some of those crystals are BOUND to be identical.

But the truth is, scientists just don?t know the answer. Nelson, who has studied snowflakes for 15 years, says, “Even if there were only a million crystals and you could compare each possible pair once per second?that is, very fast?then to compare them all would take you about a hundred thousand years.”

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

Sometimes we need complex science to understand the most basic things.

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