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January 31st, 2008
Making snowflakes or "snowfakes"?
Q: What's the point of making a snowflake generator?
A: There is the intellectual challenge, following in the footsteps of Johannes Kepler and others who have wondered about snowflakes, but there are plenty of applications. Crystal growth is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it shows the same sort of dynamics as snow crystal growth. Many metal alloys have a similar structure at the surface, and we are convinced that the same methods used to simulate ice crystals can be applied to them. Another application is self-assembly in nanotechnology, trying to figure out chemical or biological processes that will makes tiny structures with less effort. But I like to study snowflakes as wonders of nature.
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