The Snowflake Mystery

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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 brilliant.org/veritasium 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 snowcrystals.com . His new book is also available to purchase from here -- ve42.co/SnowCrystalsBook

Libbrecht, K. G. (2019). A Quantitative Physical Model of the Snow Crystal Morphology Diagram. arXiv preprint arXiv:1910.09067. -- ve42.co/Libbrecht2019

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



29 Nov 2021



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Daniel Jensen
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.
This guy is absolutely awesome, science needs more people like him. The excitement and joy he shows while talking about snowflakes is freaking contageous 😃
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
Brandon Zavala
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.
The stuff he discovered may prove to be useful in space travel or something like that.
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.
This is the sort of content I need, just some guy who’s an expert on an extremely specific area of life
magaroni n cheems
i love seeing someone talk about what they’re passionate and educated in. he looks so happy talking about what he’s worked on and discovered
Revelacion Humana
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.
Brandon Gurley
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.
Pensador Ilógico
This man spent his career studying snowflakes and he is happy, that's the life I want to live
Sreeakhil Pulipaka
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.
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
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.
I love the glint in snowflake-mans eyes when he talks about his research. Everybody should have a job that gives you that glint.
Noel Craig
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?
impressive that this guy is apparently doing both the theoretical and experimental physics
Micah Tokayer
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.
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