Snowflake Algorithm


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

In my constant search for inspiration I came across a paper titled ‘Modeling Snow Crystal Growth: A Three-Dimensional Mesoscopic Approach’.  Written by Janko Gravner and David Griffeath, the paper describes the authors attempt to construct an algorithm that mimics the crystalization of water into snow flakes.  Even though understanding the process and all the variables involved is way beyond me, I was struck by the thought that there can be beauty in numbers too.  I think everyone can agree that, when squinting down on a tiny snowflake that has landed on their glove, they are taken by some sort of objective beauty there.  It is amazing that a bit of common water, vaporized and combined with the right pressure, tempurature, etc., can form something so prisitne, delicate and pretty.  And then to think that this is one of millions and millions that are falling along with it at that very moment.  And they are just a tiny portion of the trillions of snowflakes that have fallen around the world throughout history.  Man, that is a lot of beauty.  Sometimes I think that the difference in scale causes us to miss beauty if it is too large or too small.  Looking at something from a different perspective, with the use of a microscope or telescope perhaps, can open up new ways to experience the beauty of something.  Numbers can do the same thing.  I think there is beauty in an equation that describes the formation of a snowflake.  Mathematics is an amazing thing in and of itself that we daily take for granted as we merely scratch the surface in our understanding of it.  There is beauty in crystalized water vapor.  I think there is also beauty in the equations that describe it.  Gravner and Griffeath would probably agree.

Happy Holidays and best wishes in the New Year.