The Snowflake Mystery

  • Published on Nov 29, 2021
  • Dr Ken Libbrecht is the world expert on snowflakes, designer of custom snowflakes, snowflake consultant for the movie Frozen - his photos appear on postage stamps all over the world. This video is sponsored by Brilliant. The first 200 people to sign up via get 20% off a yearly subscription.

    Thanks to Dr Ken Libbrecht for showing us how to grow designer snowflakes. Obviously, this video would not have been possible without his help and his expertise. His website is full of information about snowflakes . His new book is also available to purchase from here --

    Libbrecht, K. G. (2019). A Quantitative Physical Model of the Snow Crystal Morphology Diagram. arXiv preprint arXiv:1910.09067. --

    Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Luis Felipe, Anton Ragin, Paul Peijzel, S S, Benedikt Heinen, Diffbot, Micah Mangione, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Sam Lutfi, MJP, Gnare, Nick DiCandilo, Dave Kircher, Edward Larsen, Burt Humburg, Blake Byers, Dumky, Mike Tung, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Ismail Öncü Usta, Crated Comments, Anna, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, Oleksii Leonov, Jim Osmun, Tyson McDowell, Ludovic Robillard, Jim buckmaster, fanime96, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Vincent, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Alfred Wallace, Arjun Chakroborty, Joar Wandborg, Clayton Greenwell, Michael Krugman, Cy 'kkm' K'Nelson, Ron Neal

    Written by Derek Muller
    Filmed by Derek Muller, Raquel Nuno, Trenton Oliver and Emily Zhang
    Edited by Trenton Oliver
    Animations by Ivàn Tello and Trenton Oliver
    Additional video supplied by Getty Images
    Music from Epidemic Sound
    Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev and Emily Zhang

Comments • 9 839

  • PuzzLEGO
    PuzzLEGO Month ago +9890

    This is the sort of content I need, just some guy who’s an expert on an extremely specific area of life

  • ℂ𝕣𝕚𝕤
    ℂ𝕣𝕚𝕤 Month ago +781

    just that genuine smile on this guy's face while talking about snow flakes shows how happy he is with what he's doing :) that's enthusiasm

    • Rajadhiraj Maharaj
      Rajadhiraj Maharaj 5 days ago

      @Xapheus U see, this in itself changes over time. what is interesting at age 10 is no longer interesting at age 16 and age 26 makes anything but pleasure a pointless task.

    • Xapheus
      Xapheus 9 days ago

      The key is to find what we can do in our own lives to bring us the same type and intensity of joy.

      Easier said than done for most of us, but we can start looking at what we want to do in the world that makes us enthusiastic.

    • Zaquery Holbear
      Zaquery Holbear Month ago +1

      It's probably more about making money than snow flakes.

    • Rajadhiraj Maharaj
      Rajadhiraj Maharaj Month ago +3

      he just had too many crystals in college parties.. got himself onto the cause... LOL

    • MartinJaspis MartJ
      MartinJaspis MartJ Month ago +14

      and that somebody else wants to know something special like that, is making him happy

  • Gavri1945
    Gavri1945 Month ago +910

    This guy is absolutely awesome, science needs more people like him. The excitement and joy he shows while talking about snowflakes is freaking contageous 😃

    • LordofCicadas
      LordofCicadas Month ago +1

      he is so wholesome

    • Deltexterity
      Deltexterity Month ago +3

      would probably be a lot more common if people could divert all the money wasted on killing eachother in the military towards science.

    • origano
      origano Month ago +2

      @Alan Wilkinson you are right.

    • Alan Wilkinson
      Alan Wilkinson Month ago +4

      This is why he's so successful at it

    • King Pistachion
      King Pistachion Month ago +3

      Yeah yuh

  • Brandon Zavala
    Brandon Zavala Month ago +514

    I love his reasoning for studying snowflakes! Maybe we won’t really ever learn anything of any value from snowflakes but the curiosity is why we are where we are today and leads too undiscovered break troughs. We need way more people like him.

    • Feathertail2205
      Feathertail2205 8 days ago +1

      @Secret Moon Yes, he was very lucky. I used to be in the research field myself, and understand that you only get to have certain flexibility when picking what you want to study based off of what others already figured out and what the topics of interest among the scientific community are. It's partially why I left.

    • Secret Moon
      Secret Moon 8 days ago +1

      @Feathertail2205 That's what I want to talk about. I am a scientist myself, and when I see people praising Dr Libbrecht for "persistently following his passion for years regardless of how little value it've brought," I just shake my head of how little people understand about doing science. He was, in fact, much, much luckier than the vast majority of scientists out there, who're full of brilliant ideas but can never get the funds to persue them. Like, he jokes about publishing books after books until nobody read them anymore. Most scientists have to struggle with finding money to publish just an article.

    • Feathertail2205
      Feathertail2205 8 days ago +1

      I'm sure there are lots of scientists out there that only want to study things that interest them, but don't have much flexibility to do so because institutions (governments or private industries) will only provide funds toward research that actually bring benefits to them. It's a limited way of looking at science research, cuz I agree that influential breakthroughs usually come from accidental discoveries if not years and years of persistence toward reaching a certain result, but it's the only way to decide how science research should be organized and prioritized in an attempt to bring forth the most "progress" 😕

    • J London
      J London Month ago +3

      I think that discovery of different build dynamics for small vs large could be a key understanding. With the increase in nanotechnology and 3D printing, you could use it to make a leap in “growing” structures instead of printing. Maybe nanotubes or nanostructures have a whole new side to explore, or maybe they have discovered this separately and it’s just not been associated with ice. Hell, it could be ice is the only one with this particularity.
      I like the idea that it could influence gems and therefore be associated with all crystalline growth.
      Think of a ball of “x”. It’s our space to grow a crystal. You could seed that with your desired crystal and then manipulate the amount of your crystal’s ingredients that exist within “x”, carefully controlling other key factors such as pressure and temperature, and choose a specific shape you want to grow. It would have to be based upon your crystal’s materials molecular bonding traits, but you could make tubes with plates, or full thin plates with many branches, and all the shapes allowed.
      You could make a thing with a crystal that runs through it that easily allows electric signals through. While the rest of your thing is used as an insulator. On such a small scale you could pack a lot together, and while the signal would be weak and small, lots could cover a small area and be protected from signal jumping.

    • hlicj
      hlicj Month ago +1

      @Secret Moon it is a small price to pay for knowledge.

  • Animiles
    Animiles Month ago +184

    The stuff he discovered may prove to be useful in space travel or something like that.
    It basically just expands the fundamentals of water and ice physics. And since all our life is based around water, I think this is important to know.

    • Jack B
      Jack B 12 days ago +4

      Yeah I was thinking it could be used to learn about other planets climates by knowing what conditions it when through, though I suppose you would need more research with different atmospheres and such.

    • schwig44
      schwig44 Month ago +19

      @Andrew Kennedy *All manufacturing. Imagine if we could grow a perfect metallic crystal to practical specifications, it would revolutionize aerospace manufacturing for starters, but the knock on effects would be tremendous

    • Animiles
      Animiles Month ago +8

      @Andrew Kennedy Yes, very good examples :D

    • Andrew Kennedy
      Andrew Kennedy Month ago +36

      Exactly, understanding the physics of crystal formation can have huge benefits in all sorts of other fields, like car batteries or electronics manufacturing.

  • Pensador Ilógico
    Pensador Ilógico Month ago +1246

    This man spent his career studying snowflakes and he is happy, that's the life I want to live

    • Pensador Ilógico
      Pensador Ilógico Month ago

      Oh my goodness, THANK YOU GUYS so much for the 1.1K, I'm happy to contribute to the community 😃

    • Schuring Leon
      Schuring Leon Month ago +1

      Ben Shapiro has been studying triggered snowflakes his entire life

    • Harris
      Harris Month ago +1

      It all works as long as we are paid enough, and able to sell the books

    • William Barragan
      William Barragan Month ago

      I am fan of him :)

    • HAL NineOoO
      HAL NineOoO Month ago

      @C H A F F . G
      Not bs. A useful simplification that helps understand the recurrent behaviour patterns called personality traits and make better decisions.
      There are other models like the 5 something model, can't remember the name now. They're all necessary simplifications of a complex phenomenon. It's not as easy as in easy sciences like physics where you can make a pretty precise model with three variables and a pair of constants.

  • TristonGats
    TristonGats Month ago +93

    This dude has my kind of curiosity, he didn’t like the fact that no one knew how snowflakes worked and it really bothered him cause he wanted to know too so he just figured it out himself. I love that, the determination just out of curiosity always fascinates me.

    • TristonGats
      TristonGats 14 days ago

      @nieooj gotoy I love it, so thankful for people like this.

    • nieooj gotoy
      nieooj gotoy 24 days ago +1

      Love the way he explain how it was started. Scientists always think differently, curious, and find out how things happen

  • Revelacion Humana
    Revelacion Humana Month ago +38

    Nice to see in a lab w new equipment. The work of Dr. Masaru Emoto explains best what water molecules really are. Check him out!

  • Abela Appelsínudóttir

    I once saw a perfect snowflake fall on the seat of my moms car when I opened the door back when we lived north of Iceland. It must have had a 2mm - 3mm radius or something, it was so visible. Been fascinated since. Keep up the good work! Curiosity is more than enough inspiration to pursue passions! Not everything has to have practical value, emotional value can be worth just as much, if not more.

    • BILLY
      BILLY 17 days ago +1

      Understanding how snowflakes work will have a practical value, we just don't know what it is yet

    • Klaua Eisenhauer
      Klaua Eisenhauer 26 days ago

      as a dane, i love your surname

  • Sreeakhil Pulipaka
    Sreeakhil Pulipaka Month ago +47

    I love people like this guy. He seems so passionate and entertaining to be around as well, on top of doing some really cool stuff because he likes it. Seems like a very chill, stress-free life.

  • TimeBucks
    TimeBucks Month ago +7619

    impressive that this guy is apparently doing both the theoretical and experimental physics

    • kukul roukul
      kukul roukul 27 days ago

      wow !

    • chuck1esHD
      chuck1esHD 29 days ago

      what’s up checkmark

    • Sheik S
      Sheik S Month ago

      It's my favourite

    • mildly_edgy
      mildly_edgy Month ago +1

      @Son&PopCo-OP Sure, yes, random stranger on the internet.

    • Sednas
      Sednas Month ago +2

      @Krys Krys64 and the moon isn't real and the earth is a dinosuar

  • Nour Muhsen
    Nour Muhsen Month ago +57

    Mad respect to Dr. Ken! He's inspiring. That's right. We don't need a reason to study how things work. No amount of information is excessive at this point. We might as well study everything.

    • Nour Muhsen
      Nour Muhsen 22 days ago

      @nieooj gotoy
      Yeah, I look at him and I am like that's what I want to be like in the future.

    • nieooj gotoy
      nieooj gotoy 24 days ago +1

      My favorite thing is that Dr.Ken is smiling the whole time, what an achievement it is to be that excited about your work. For over 40 years at that!

  • Brandon Gurley
    Brandon Gurley Month ago +31

    Every now and then, Derek posts a video that makes me stop everything and hyperfocus on something that I never questioned but now feel like it's something I always wanted to know.

  • GUNSMOKE 114
    GUNSMOKE 114 Month ago +23

    I love this guys energy. We made books… until we sold zero copies… Then we stopped 😂 also that little “damnit” at the end I love this man

  • Greystorm1619
    Greystorm1619 Month ago +39

    I love Snowflake guy’s excitement and energy he radiates when talking about his research. I hope to be that chill when I’m older.

  • Daniel Jensen
    Daniel Jensen Month ago +4410

    Honestly I 100% agree with his approach of "I'm studying this because it's cool and we don't know how it works". Really that's the foundation of science.

  • TReXcuRRy
    TReXcuRRy 10 days ago +3

    I was shocked but the ending. Never have I asked myself during this whole amazing snowflake documentary why is this scientist researching this topic. It feels so naturally compelling to me to be deeply attracted to solving the mysteries of life and the universe. Questions lie in every topic and their answers are interconnected, understanding one topic will better your understanding of the whole.
    It would be sad if human beings only directly seek to increase their comfort and safety... Which we do a lot already.

  • Noel Craig
    Noel Craig Month ago +11

    Would this work the same way for carbon? When carbon is laid upon a substrate, using processes like Chemical Vapour Deposition, the carbon forms hexagonal structures which we like to call Graphene or if many layers built up in columns then we call it graphite. Is it possible by controlling the temperature and saturation that you could make a carbon flake similar in appearance to a snowflake?

  • Micah Tokayer
    Micah Tokayer Month ago +12

    Now this is a quality video. I appreciate the in-depth analysis and expertise brought on and discussed whilst delicately following the requirements of the almighty algorithm.

  • Vlad Macovei
    Vlad Macovei Month ago +14

    "What do you do with snow flakes?" I presume this research is very valuable to people researching suspended animation and the behavior of tissue at low temperatures. If that does not sound interesting think at the benefits the ice cream industry could have from this. Research is always usefull

  • Guy in New York
    Guy in New York Month ago +15439

    I love seeing someone speak as passionately as this dude talks about his snowflakes, great content

  • Richard Tipton
    Richard Tipton Month ago +3

    This was genuinely cool asf to watch. Great editing and footage! This is why I love Veritasium!!

  • Imagination Hobbies
    Imagination Hobbies Month ago +7

    I collect fine mineral and crystal specimens and this video took ALL THE WORDS OUT OF MY MOUTH so concise and well explained 👏

    Crystallography is awesome

  • Pedro Pinheiro
    Pedro Pinheiro Month ago +6

    Total respect for this scientist. We need more people like him.

  • Tiên Lê
    Tiên Lê Month ago +4

    Love the way he explain how it was started. Scientists always think differently, curious, and find out how things happen

  • Devon Williams
    Devon Williams Month ago +1576

    My favorite thing is that Dr.Ken is smiling the whole time, what an achievement it is to be that excited about your work. For over 40 years at that!

    • Mark 星光指路
      Mark 星光指路 Month ago +1

      kinda sad of smile ...

    • Jógvan
      Jógvan Month ago

      @Sanjay Matsuda I have a feeling his new book might sell a few copies.

    • Pirojf Mifhghek
      Pirojf Mifhghek Month ago

      @Sanjay Matsuda Yeah, I guess I was paraphrasing there.

    • Dabaron Da Vinci
      Dabaron Da Vinci Month ago

      Someone copied your comment lol

    • Big Cauc
      Big Cauc Month ago +1

      @Sanjay Matsuda i was about to correct that as well.

  • Mikel Garai
    Mikel Garai Month ago +14

    I love the idea that there is someone in the in world that has spent all his life creating snowflakes, what a time to be alive ❄️😍

  • Meenakshi S
    Meenakshi S Month ago +2

    As someone who really loves to study and to know of anything that sparks interest in me, I'm humbled by the professors enthusiasm! 😄🙏🏻

  • Bravo
    Bravo 20 days ago +3

    Some scientists really feel happy when someone is interested in what they're doing. Thanks a lot for the content

  • Nicholas Sans Pasty
    Nicholas Sans Pasty Month ago +6

    I'll always prefer nature's perfect imperfection but this is impressive stuff.

  • Tiberiu Nicolae
    Tiberiu Nicolae Month ago +3038

    "We just kept making books until they sold 0 copies and then we stopped" Sound strategy I respect this man.

    • Mikkel Breiler
      Mikkel Breiler Month ago

      @Mal-2 KSC Then you have to buy from retailers so the publisher will know of the demand, otherwise it won't really work.

    • Mark 星光指路
      Mark 星光指路 Month ago +1

      * Australia.. ! *

    • yvonne pandora meehan ypm
      yvonne pandora meehan ypm Month ago

      I bet that had something to do with getting answers and information online. Who reads books anymore?

    • XgodlynxX
      XgodlynxX Month ago

      @Frosty how is he rich?

    • IExist
      IExist Month ago

      If you enjoy making the books sure, but if you just want to make money it's a pretty crappy strategy

  • Nanoq HT
    Nanoq HT Month ago +7

    This takes the term “special snowflake” to a whole new level.

  • Alpha Omega
    Alpha Omega Month ago +3

    gorgeous isnt it. its an energy pattern actually. but so gorgeous. the random shapes and the tendencies for hex angle i think due to during it formations, the matter that form the flake are in certain various "charges". again, i believe electromagnetic state dictate how it energy propagates. thats why it tends to be SYMMETRICAL.

  • codemiesterbeats
    codemiesterbeats Month ago +1

    I remember very clearly one time a very large snow flake landed on my coat.. I was like "man that sure is a perfect snow flake" and about that time it melted/broke apart... biggest flake that was clearly symmetrical I ever saw in person.

  • Cunt
    Cunt Month ago +5

    This guy is awesome. You can almost feel for yourself the childlike wonder in his face, with every sentence. Perfect video for the Holiday season too, hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday this year!

  • John Chessant
    John Chessant Month ago +3194

    Love what he said at the end. To be able to understand things as complex as the formation of snowflakes, even if it isn't remotely "useful", is a testament to our humanity. People like him who are curious and can share his passion with the world, recognize that knowledge is not a means to an end, it's an end in itself.

    • MarketSocialist
      MarketSocialist Month ago

      @Alec Dacyczyn Yep exactly people think it's useless until you look a little deeper.

    • Calisto
      Calisto Month ago +1


    • Ian Gunter
      Ian Gunter Month ago +1

      I would argue that it's not necessarily even directly "useless". Deposition maximizes in the dendritic growth zone for example and this obviously affects snowfall rates. I can see snowflake crystal types being used at some point to forecast snowfall rates. Maybe radar technology will be able to differentiate between crystal shapes one day and we'll be able to use that to get a better idea of what the environmental conditions are like so we can create better snowfall forecasts.

      Above the surface, it's difficult to get data for things like temperature, wind, and humidity. Weather balloons are good for this but they're (typically) only done twice a day and at certain locations. Radar, satellite, and weather models are really helpful for filling in these gaps but there's always room for improvement.

      I appreciate Dr. Libbrecht's passion for this stuff. We need passionate people like him to advance knowledge in any field.

    • Jm27
      Jm27 Month ago +1

      @mizo mint the idea of quantum computers and the singularity wouldn’t even exist if not for scientists experimenting on random things for the sake of knowledge. The entire field of quantum theory developed from a few guys shining a light through a couple slits just to see what happened. Einstein changed our understanding of physics by wondering if there was more to it than just actions and reactions. Tossing away all new ideas to focus on a single concept would be a huge mistake and counterproductive in the end

    • sean clark
      sean clark Month ago +3

      @mizo mint imagine thinking puzzles are constructed from a single piece…..

  • Keira Melody
    Keira Melody Month ago

    I’m a big fan of Dr. Ken now 😂
    absolutely love how his mind works and how he thinks! ❄️

  • Linda LLAP
    Linda LLAP Month ago

    I’m OBSESSED with snowflakes ❄️!! My living room is a homage to snowflakes at Christmas. This gentleman and I could chat for hours!! They are both beautiful and fascinating 🧐 I learned so much from this and his book is on my Christmas list!

  • SteamPunkPhysics
    SteamPunkPhysics Month ago +1

    I love this guy!!! Science is for understanding how reality works, not finding a new way to create more worthless widgets to overflow landfills, or discovering better ways to kill human opponents across some fictitious borders.

    Increased general understanding is what leads to innovation, not driving desire for specific invention to exploit. It's funny how focus on the journey brings about a better destination.

  • Puneet Maheshwari
    Puneet Maheshwari 28 days ago +1

    After seeing him talking so passionately about snow but then remembering that his book didn't even get a single copy sale is really heart breaking

  • Jason Kramer
    Jason Kramer Month ago +2281

    "As a scientist, you want to figure something out."
    Contributing to the collective knowledge accumulated over millenia just because it's not already known. Badass.

    • yvonne pandora meehan ypm
      yvonne pandora meehan ypm Month ago

      hell yeah

      NUTRAINERS Month ago


    • meleardil
      meleardil Month ago +1

      Understanding EXACTLY how crystals grow is a VERY-VERY useful knowledge in real life. The quality of our electronics today is totally dependent on the purity of the semiconductor crystals, and that is just ONE example from the many thousands.

    • Squid5464 yeet
      Squid5464 yeet Month ago

      @CruxCapacitor 10:00 this could maybe be useful

    • Eviel
      Eviel Month ago +1

      The knowledge version of exploring new lands.

  • David Morales
    David Morales Month ago

    Excellent content... It's cool to know such curious things as this, however, I have one doubt I hope you could answer... If once you have created a flat plate snowflake at a temperature of -6°C, you continue decreasing the temp from around -20°C to -35°C, that is the temp for creating a column snowflake. Will the flat plate snowflake get a 3D shape by adding H2O molecules in the basal facets?

  • Marina McDougall
    Marina McDougall 28 days ago

    Love this video! For those who want to immerse further in the magic of snow crystals (as well as diatoms), come and see the exhibition Invisible World of Water at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. The show features the work of Bentley, Nakaya, and Libbrecht - and represents how the insights of individual scientists, artists and amateurs build upon one another over time to advance our understanding of the natural world.

  • Kat.
    Kat. Month ago

    "It makes me and other people happy" is a valid reason. It's art! I suppose it also feeds him. And he's even gaining knowledge as to how things work? Give it some time and it'll become even more useful than it already is by the principles being used in a completely different context!

  • Big Boss
    Big Boss Month ago +1

    I wish I had the same passion that this dude has for my everyday life.

  • suvrat arya
    suvrat arya Month ago +1329

    A fraction of passion this guy has for snowflakes will make a massive difference in the world around us.

    • Bev Stan X-
      Bev Stan X- Month ago

      @Jay Eisenhardt Texas is garbage btw

    • Jay Eisenhardt
      Jay Eisenhardt Month ago +1

      @Blue WHALE Studio BlenderAnimations/dominoes/etc "are there any updrafts ?? . . a strong updraft can hold quite large objects in the air" Hail big as a baseball. Did that used to be a snowflake?

    • Mouth Raper
      Mouth Raper Month ago

      After reading the title I thought it would be about why people get offended.

    • Blue WHALE Studio BlenderAnimations/dominoes/etc
      Blue WHALE Studio BlenderAnimations/dominoes/etc Month ago

      @Dr Gamma D that's one part of it

      are there any updrafts ?? . . a strong updraft can hold quite large objects in the air

    • Dr Gamma D
      Dr Gamma D Month ago +3

      @Blue WHALE Studio BlenderAnimations/dominoes/etc they bigger they are, the faster they fall, and the ground always wins.

  • Pavan Singh
    Pavan Singh 12 days ago

    Dr. Ken love and energy for the subject was simply inspiring 🙏🏻

  • Tina Knutsen
    Tina Knutsen 29 days ago

    I loved this video! It is 12/21/21 at 2:10 am and I am inspired to make ❄️ SNOWFLAKE ❄️ sugar cookies
    For Christmas and share this video with the whole family Christmas Day. ( cousins, grandkids,nieces, nephews, and all the adults) I just bought a book called The Night Sky for one of the kiddos. It is beautifully written and very good graphics. It is about the planets and constellations, finding the big/little dipper.
    So happy I came across this well done video! I learned something new today 😊

  • Ksnv
    Ksnv 8 days ago

    That last sentence, it's amazing that he wanted to get recognized and did, probably will be even more if this research gets involved in future years creations

  • Josef Carlo Lee
    Josef Carlo Lee Month ago +1

    Went out to be a physicist, turned out to be an artist. Just beautiful.

  • Gasp
    Gasp Month ago +1395

    Mad respect to this man. He has complete joy to dedicate his life to a specific area of science, to such an extent that he can probably confidently say that he is the worlds expert on the subject.

    • Ate
      Ate Month ago

      Watching these type of videos make me wanna learn a lot and gain beneficial knowledge. Before I use to be the type who hates learning stuff coming from school but watching these videos changed my mind

    • Vassily Grigoriev
      Vassily Grigoriev Month ago

      And also for the ones who fund his work.

    • Jay
      Jay Month ago

      @ッ- He said Nothing of the sort, and you can always ask his manager, who knows little, but its something.

    • ッ
       Month ago +1

      @Borys Nijinski are you saying he sucks at science

    • Bad Cornflakes
      Bad Cornflakes Month ago

      @Borys Nijinski - Socrates

  • HV30experiment
    HV30experiment Month ago

    This is definitely one of the best Veritasium episodes!

  • FTL OP
    FTL OP Month ago

    Very interesting. This was done perfectly, not too technically over my head, and it didn't bore me. In fact the realization that Dr. Libbrecht has pin pointed the difference of what causes the different shapes could in the future be helpful when tracking weather patters. I would think, just guessing. This magic we all pondered about is explained and yet I'm willing to bet that this knowledge could help in tracking weather patterns. Thanks Veritasium this was really neat to watch.

  • Antonio Meza
    Antonio Meza Month ago +2

    Yo… the amount of passion that this man has is astronomical.

  • Crosby 44
    Crosby 44 Month ago +2

    I love how he said "We need to know how these snowflakes work dammit. I wanna be the guy that knows how they work." Im really diggin his passion ngl

  • ZeniteZero
    ZeniteZero Month ago +1370

    Ken's excitement about his field is truly captivating.

    • bigmacdontcare
      bigmacdontcare Month ago

      @Lac Di I find it really difficult to read your comment and interpret it as something wrong with current education. The way science has progressed is by asking whether something should do one, or another thing. Figuring out which it is by carefully testing it. Now you know the answer and can use it. Nature is only exploring some of the careful tests, humans build more because we look for answers nature alone isn't giving. There is no conflict in that, no wrongness. Just science and the fruitful search for answers

    • Lac Di
      Lac Di Month ago

      @Inconnu Unknown Your mind set really has big problem. There are 2 main principle: human's law and nature's law and combine both Which one is powerful best then that's as is. Rain from up to down by the nature's law but you can make human's rain from down revert up by a sprinkler pressure. You tell me that the human's law better than the nature's law. I hear this voice everywhere when the uneducational right kids want something from their mother >>>???
      P/s: the problem nowaday that the education teched the kids what are right but not what are wrong >? Self learning every moment thinking is how compare between right Vs wrong and how it is forming ???

    • Inconnu Unknown
      Inconnu Unknown Month ago +7

      @Lac Di @Lac Di you really don't know what you are talking about.
      What you are describing is the very naive teaching in high school to give a first intuition.
      In higher study you will learn that quantum physics is completely different from solar system and it's gravity.
      Electron don't orbite the nucleus like earth around the sun. It has a probability distribution around the nucleus that can have many different shape, some spheric, some very strange. The electron is not really localised in one place, it is diluted in its atomic orbital.
      Search orbital atomic to learn more.

    • Lac Di
      Lac Di Month ago

      If you or everyone want to have Ken's knowledge about this filed then you need to be teaching Foundational principle of electric instead the base 101 of electric. All electron moved or behave just like what ? If the earth is proton then the moon is electron, If (the earth + the moon ) is the Push gravity then the sun is Pull gravity. An Atom's constructional space is just a fraction super nano version of Solar system that' s all.

  • 1Darkmouse
    1Darkmouse Month ago +2

    How much data can we encode in a single snowflake? Sounds like it could make a great mid-long range data-transmission medium that wouldn't be affected by EMP and radio-jammers, for the snowy areas of course.

  • Holly-lee Dickson
    Holly-lee Dickson Month ago +1

    Yes! A beautiful nugget of random information that is essentially useless to me because it doesn’t snow here at all yet I am so happy to know this now. How cool!!!!

  • snerovadlo
    snerovadlo Month ago

    I was one of the best student of my class of chemistry at elemenary school yet up until now I never realised what polar molecule and hydrogen bond really ment. Thanks Derek 😀

  • Growth is Freedom United Earth Enterprise

    really impressed by Ken's work.

  • Mustakrakish
    Mustakrakish Month ago +1077

    When people call this guy a snowflake, he just says “oh my goodness, thank you!”

    • Schuring Leon
      Schuring Leon Month ago

      Most people just get triggered yes

    • SoidSnake
      SoidSnake Month ago

      Which then means he is not a snowflake

    • Alanna Libbrecht
      Alanna Libbrecht Month ago +9

      This was actually a running joke in our household not too long ago - “they’re trying to give snowflakes a bad rap!” (I’m this guy’s daughter 😊)

    • Vigilant Cosmic Penguin
      Vigilant Cosmic Penguin Month ago

      Do you ever wonder if snowflakes talk about how every human is different?

    • Mouth Raper
      Mouth Raper Month ago +1

      After reading the title I thought it would be about why people get offended.

  • asioe kiou
    asioe kiou 25 days ago

    As someone who really loves to study and to know of anything that sparks interest in me, I'm humbled by the professors enthusiasm!

  • SMH Ace of Spades
    SMH Ace of Spades 26 days ago

    This DUDE is Awesome this is the type Of Professor you HOPE and wish for loved there work and shows the same love when explaining it. I hope his work and data makes him eligible for a Nobel Prize one day.

  • Levi Black
    Levi Black 2 days ago

    Now knowing that snow flakes can be needle and column shaped, I wonder what makes the best snow to ski on? What about to make an igloo with? I'd imagine needle and column flakes would be better insulators as they are a similar shape to glass and asbestos fibres. His research could lead into many different areas of chemical design, from insulation to lubrication.

  • Merc06
    Merc06 Month ago

    It reminded me of using an Etch-A-Sketch where he started manipulating the humidity to make the snowflakes. So fascinating

  • Bravo6
    Bravo6 Month ago +1356

    "Does each snowflake in essence reveal its history through itsshape?"
    "Yeah absolutely, to some degree"

    That's a good pun, Dr.Ken!

    • w3w3w3
      w3w3w3 Month ago

      @Brian Knechtel 🤣

    • Drew Gibbs
      Drew Gibbs Month ago +1

      @Brian Knechtel i thought they just form then fall on the ground

    • Not Interested
      Not Interested Month ago

      The 'shape' of every human being does the same...

    • buttafan
      buttafan Month ago

      A code representing changes in environmental conditions the snow flake has encountered during formation.

    • Lycanthrope
      Lycanthrope Month ago +1

      @J J he spent so many years probably being asked that question he might have already had the pun prepared so it wasn't a on the spot hence why it sounded more convincing

  • Tim Rice
    Tim Rice Month ago +1

    I love it. Scientists just want to answer "how does this work" explains so much about all the scientists I know.

  • IIlIlIIllIIIllIlIIIl

    Since ice formation is an exothermic reaction, the variations could also be due to small amounts of heat being produced and absorbed. For hexagonal snowflakes, it would be like dropping a pebble in water. Ripples of upward (heat) and downward (cooling) waves extend out from the center, giving near identical formation as it grows.

  • AnAxiom
    AnAxiom 26 days ago +1

    A math professor of mine researches bubbles and shares his research with similar enthusiasm. It’s incredibly motivating.

  • Moking C
    Moking C Month ago

    Thank you for this video but I’d like to point out a small mistake:

    9:10 Ukichiro was a professor in the Hokkaido University, not University of Hokkaido (which is non-existent).

    Besides this point I think you should have mentioned that HE was the first person that ever created a snowflake in artificial manner. He’s actually called the “farther of artificial snowflakes”.

    By the way I am a researcher in the Institute of Low Temperature Science of Hokkaido University, which was initially formed under Ukichiro’s supervision for further research related to snowflakes and more.

  • BT20MEC110 Aniket Turkel
    BT20MEC110 Aniket Turkel Month ago +1980

    You can feel how much Ken likes learning about snowflakes from his face. He was enthusiastic from the start to the end of the video.

    • Jarek Nowak
      Jarek Nowak Month ago

      Maybe its not passion, maybe its coffeine :)

    • Mouth Raper
      Mouth Raper Month ago +1

      After reading the title I thought it would be about why people get offended.

    • Ronny Jakobsson
      Ronny Jakobsson Month ago +4

      @kaw628 i know the feeling since my daily work as a programmer is like like I'm getting paid doing my hobby. ☺️

    • Menelutorex
      Menelutorex Month ago +1

      you understand if you ever was on camera. Try not to smile is difficult. Smiling is common.

    • Noah
      Noah Month ago +2

      The best part is that you could tell he wasn't forcing it, it was real.

  • Jarod T
    Jarod T Month ago


    I'm curious if Dr. Libbrecht might know what connection, if any, there might be with snowflake shape in relationship to the type of snow that occurs? For example, some snow is better for packing and making snowballs, while other stuff is light and fluffy which might be better for sledding. I would think this relationship is relating to the moisture content and thus have a relationship between that and the snowflake shape. Is this true?

  • Maria Fernanda
    Maria Fernanda Month ago

    Wonder if I will ever see snow in my life. It must be really cool to have the chance to feel this kind of thing. I really enjoy cold weather, but I live in a place that is hot most time of the year.

  • Jacob Rowell
    Jacob Rowell 27 days ago

    I hope I can find a passion that brings a smile to my face just as these snowflakes do for this man. He seems like such a lovely person. Truly inspiring.

    SHREYA GUPTA Month ago

    I want to be this happy doing my job .Huge respect for this man who solved mystery of snowflakes.

  • Rowan Murphy
    Rowan Murphy Month ago +1287

    A constant smile on my face watching this. His joy working on this deceptively complex puzzle that has been hiding under our noses is infectious. His pursuit of knowledge is admirable.

    • Rowan Murphy
      Rowan Murphy Month ago

      @LEGO Brick a Brac what genres do you write in?

    • LEGO Brick a Brac
      LEGO Brick a Brac Month ago

      @Rowan Murphy Nice, Me to.

    • LEGO Brick a Brac
      LEGO Brick a Brac Month ago

      @DarkShroom Plants grow in fractal patterns but are heavily influenced by environmental factors and genetics. A very good example of fractal patterns in plants would be cacti.

    • Rowan Murphy
      Rowan Murphy Month ago +1

      @LEGO Brick a Brac I am a musician

    • DarkShroom
      DarkShroom Month ago +1

      @LEGO Brick a Brac lol plants don't use the same system to grow.... there's a slight difference what with the DNA

      snowflakes all turn out differently, plants somehow manage to grow to nearly the same shape.... it's not even a good analogy

  • Melvin TB
    Melvin TB Month ago

    Hi Derek, Please make a video on worm holes. It would be interesting to know about the history of this concept and the future of it.

  • Michael Hiltz
    Michael Hiltz Month ago

    The first time I watched frozen the only part of the movie I actually enjoyed was the phrase "Frozen Fractals all around". I was on my birthday in March and it was in the middle of a snow storm where we got several feet of snow

  • Lowside_Levi
    Lowside_Levi Month ago

    I'm very curious about how similar the formation of snowflakes is to crystals like quarts and diamonds. I'd love to see a video on it if you haven't made one already

  • Roberto Quintá
    Roberto Quintá 23 days ago

    this guy reminds me of an old guy that become a friend of me until he passed away, he was so passionate about his work. God bless this type of people that bring us enlightnment

  • Hannes Isacsson
    Hannes Isacsson Month ago +1788

    The power this man wields is astonishing

    • Vigilant Cosmic Penguin
      Vigilant Cosmic Penguin Month ago

      Elsa has a competitor.

    • Dmitri Telvanni
      Dmitri Telvanni Month ago

      @Mouth Raper lol I feel you. I thought it was gonna be a new Ben Shapiro meme.

    • Mouth Raper
      Mouth Raper Month ago +2

      After reading the title I thought it would be about why people get offended.

    • M Nassif
      M Nassif Month ago

      @👺samurai boi ^^

    • Dmitri Telvanni
      Dmitri Telvanni Month ago

      Sure. Till Ben Shapiro walks in and ends this whole guys career with facts and logic lol jk.

  • Redlineshift
    Redlineshift Month ago

    i wish theyd taught stuff in school in a fun interesting way like these youtubers. increible stuff as always

  • LeTtRrZ
    LeTtRrZ Month ago +1

    Just when you think you've seen everything, here comes a dude whose life's work is the study of snowflakes.

  • Lee Shallis
    Lee Shallis Month ago +3

    7:09, the bonds there reminded me of gravity, that lead me on a thought path that might explain gravity, including it's speed "limit" and why it's stronger on larger masses. Let's start with the concept that gravity doesn't exist, I know that sounds crazy but bare with me, let's say particles aren't trying to gather but instead trying to escape, however because space debris (that includes earth) is always being hit with some kind of quantum wave the particles are forced to return towards what they originally bounced off of (what they were escaping), these particles in turn collide with other particles that were trying to escape, this naturally cascades down to denser collisions (hence the stronger "gravity"), naturally as the collisions get denser it also slows the return of the particles that "caught" by particles further out, this would be the speed "limit" being encountered, in other words if the air got dense enough during a fall from the atmosphere during the fall it could make the fall survivable, like it is with falling in water

    • Lee Shallis
      Lee Shallis 24 days ago

      @PulsarTSAI Think of it a different way, you're aware of the suction effect or whatever it's called when the space between 2 sheets is devoid of normal particles correct? now imagine every surrounding virtual particle as either of those sheets and anything between as being forced to stay inside that vacuum, that's what I'm roughly getting at with my theory of gravity, that in their attempt to escape they're forced back by the sorroundings, bigger particle movement would effectively be the escape velocity being high enough to punch a hole through those virtual sheets yet the act of doing so loses energy and the virtual particles/sheets slow them or push them back through those holes if they stay open long enough

    • PulsarTSAI
      PulsarTSAI 24 days ago

      @Lee Shallis I do no think I really understand the point here. If the void would be filled with those theoretical particles, then they would exert force on the surface of an object like a planet. However, the inside would be filled with regular particles trying to escape and scatter. The pressure of the "virtual" particles could be strong enough to counteract that, but if the regular particles repel each other instead of gravitating, then their force would increase along with density of an object. Thus, larger and more massive objects would actually be less stable.

    • Lee Shallis
      Lee Shallis 26 days ago

      @PulsarTSAI Well there's supposedly virtual particles, perhaps it get's stronger because the "gravity" is happening at that level and we only see the after effects, since virtual particles are supposes to litter the universe it does kind of make sense for this method if we're just "swimming" in those and just being pushed around by what's pushed by what we push, in other words by moving we create "gravity"

    • PulsarTSAI
      PulsarTSAI 26 days ago

      While I do not think this is possible, it is nonetheless an interesting thought experiment. But why would the gravity increase along with mass this model? Would the force exerted by the supposed quantum field not be independent of the object it interacts with?

  • Deepa Wakchaure
    Deepa Wakchaure Month ago

    Sir, A great respect.... You draw nature with no technology just with your hands... You seem too grounded.. God gives such power to only humble and worthy.. Love... Your work is great.

  • marsgizmo
    marsgizmo Month ago +833

    A wonderful episode, love it! 😌

  • Eclipse 111
    Eclipse 111 Month ago

    Does the same effect happen when freezing other liquids with different freezing temperatures? Do other liquids still produce six sided snowflakes ❄️ or does the base shape change based on the liquid?

  • Aleksandr Kvitchenko

    So exciting and so scientific at the same time!

  • Ak1ra
    Ak1ra Month ago +1

    Ken is just so happy about snowflakes, this gives me life

  • Carl Groover
    Carl Groover Month ago

    This is such a fantastic video, I’ve watched it 3 times trying to soak up all the details.

  • Maryah Haidery
    Maryah Haidery Month ago +631

    “We have to know how that works damn it!” That may be the best definition of science I’ve ever heard. Absolutely love you and Dr. Libbrecht! Thanks for introducing him to us :)

    • Keemo577
      Keemo577 Month ago

      That is true. It also may be a definition of why we might destroy ourselves! Double edged sword. Sounds about right though. haha. I am that way myself.

    • Mouth Raper
      Mouth Raper Month ago

      After reading the title I thought it would be about why people get offended.

    • Hadish Street
      Hadish Street Month ago +1

      I couldn't possibly say it better, Maryah!

    • Parth Savyasachi
      Parth Savyasachi Month ago +7

      He is such nice and genuine guy.

  • asciidude
    asciidude 20 days ago

    This guy has such a great personality. He sounds very wise, too. I loved this video

  • Ian Mercaldi
    Ian Mercaldi Month ago +1

    Just finished up one my finals, got home and started this. This is fascinating. Exactly what I needed after a massive brain dump earlier.

  • here's johnny
    here's johnny Month ago +1

    Science really is magical in every to every social outcast to every book loving nerd I salute you.

  • Ruthless Jack
    Ruthless Jack Month ago

    The snowboarding world needs to be aware of this man!

  • RadenWA
    RadenWA Month ago +1922

    “Snowflake can be shaped like a bullet”

    _Frozen 3 gonna take a pretty gangsta turn_

    • Killeandroid98
      Killeandroid98 Month ago +1

      everybody gangsta until the snow princess starts to shoot the F L A K E S

    • Youxxef aka Josef
      Youxxef aka Josef Month ago

      Shut up redditor

    • Mutsu Hanma
      Mutsu Hanma Month ago

      Been spending most their lives living in the gangsta's paradise

      Keep spending most our lives living in the gangsta's paradise

    • MV740
      MV740 Month ago +1

      @unsubtract wtf it released that long ago? I guess it makes sense I didnt know cus ive never watched it.

    • unsubtract
      unsubtract Month ago +3

      @MV740 8 years ago, 18 year olds were 10.

  • Stian
    Stian Month ago

    I hope this guy goes into snow production, so we can finally have real powder snow made at the ski resorts.

  • TalenGryphon
    TalenGryphon Month ago

    As to potential applications of this information: Some types of snow compact into ice far more readily than others. If we know the conditions that form those kinds of snowflakes, transportation departments can more readily divert plow and salt trucks to where they will be most needed in a given jurisdiction

  • the other Andrew
    the other Andrew Month ago

    My experience of living with snow, in Russia, is that around -12c or maybe -15c, the crystals are stronger, they don't crush so easily under foot. Maybe this is because the flatter ones now pile up onto the column ones? When that kind of snow melts, it collapses suddenly.

  • Benjamin Welborn
    Benjamin Welborn Month ago

    Have there been any tests involving snowflake formation in different gasses of gas mixtures? Like high carbon dioxide, CFCs, oxygen, hydrogen sulphide, helium, etc?