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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gift Idea for the Young (or old!) Scientist or Artist

by Cynthia Light Brown

Sergey Kljatov http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaoticmind75/

Science and art intersect perfectly in the image of a snowflake. Snowflakes start as hexagonal molecules, and sprout branches as they fall to earth by drawing water from the air. Higher amounts of water in the air (humidity) cause thinner branches, and smaller amounts of water produce thicker branches. One snowflake is made from about 100,000 VERY tiny droplets of water.

If you have a young artist or scientist (which covers everyone, right?), give them a book and a beautiful photo of a snowflake for Christmas. It's easy: here's how.

Sergey Kljatov http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaoticmind75/

Sergey Kljatov http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaoticmind75/

Alexey Kljatov has taken gorgeous photos of snowflakes, and you can download high-resolution images from his website for free and print, as long as it’s for personal, non-commercial use and you give credit (which I think is very generous for such beautiful photos, so if you pin or post this, please give him credit). I can’t stop looking at these, and thought I would share a few with all of you.

Sergey Kljatov http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaoticmind75/

Sergey Kljatov http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaoticmind75/

Sergey Kljatov http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaoticmind75/

His Flicker account is here:

To print a photo, download the highest resolution, which is the original resolution. You can also view his photos on Alexey Kljatov Tumblr Account or Alexey Kljatov Facebook Account

Then, have the photo printed as unframed, mounted wall art; the unframed photos of snowflakes will seem to float on the wall. Shutterfly is one place that will print and ship it super-fast, in time for Christmas! A 16x16 photo from Shutterfly is $54.99:

Or you can use a different size of course, or frame it. If you use an inexpensive frame and a smaller print, it wouldn’t cost much at all. I’m going to have 6 of them printed and arranged on the wall.

Then, pair the photo with a book.

For young kids (ages 4 to 8), the perfect book is Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian. It’s a Caldecott winner, and tells the story of Wilson Bentley, a boy fascinated by snowflakes who spent his life studying and photographing them.

For older kids (ages 8 and up), The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-close Look at the the Art and Science of Snowflakes by Kenneth Libbrecht, a physics professor at Cal Tech, has stunning photographs and tells the story of a snowflake forming.

 Ken Libbrecht’s website also has numerous options of books for the adult scientist/artist in your life:


Sergey Kljatov http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaoticmind75/

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