Saturday, May 21

Why are the snowflakes symmetrical and hexagonal? The question that inspired Kepler a conjecture unsolved in centuries

  • Manuel de Leon Rodriguez
  • The Conversation*


Snowflakes are hexagonal and symmetrical, which has given rise to numerous theories about it throughout history.

Christmas 1610, a man crosses the Charles Bridge in Prague, it snows and flakes fall on the lapel of his coat. It’s Johannes Kepler, thinking about what New Year’s gift might be the most appropriate for his benefactor and friend Johannes Matthäus Wäckher von Wackenfelds.

Look at the snowflakes, and find a strange regularity in them.

As a good scientist, you can’t help but wonder about it: Why are they all hexagonal in shape?; Why don’t they have five sides or seven?

Kepler thinks this topic could be the reason for a trial, an excellent New Years gift for your benefactor.

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