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Silly snowflakes

I am impressed by Prof Thomas Koop (http://www.uni-bielefeld.de/chemie/arbeitsbereiche/pc2/koop.html) who recently spoke out against non hexagonal snow flakes.

If you want to read more of the story then see http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/dec/23/christmas-card-snowflakes-nature-physics?CMP=AFCYAH

I was shocked when a coworker (An expert in crystal growth) told me that a school teacher of chemistry asked him if he had cut or polished his alum crystals to get them into the right shape. Goodness ! Alum crystals always form the way that they do (unless you add urea which makes them grow to make cubes and not octahedrons).

I was hoping that a chemistry teacher would know better. 

The octahedron vs cube question is an interesting one which I hope to get back to soon.


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