Wilson A. Bentley, a Vermont farmer, photographed the marvels of snow crystals.
This article was triggered by a UPS package I received a couple of days ago.
I could tell by the feel that it was a book. I opened it and found "The Snowflake Man", a biography of Wilson Bentley (1865-1931) written and personally autographed by my good friend Dr. Duncan Blanchard. It made my Christmas.
Outstanding meteorologist William J. Humphries became interested and collaborated with him in a major publication, "Snow Crystals", which was printed in 1931 by McGraw Hill and reprinted in 1962 by Dover Publications.
Blanchard, an esteemed atmospheric scientist, devoted a decade of his postretirement life researching Bentley and writing the biography. It was his tribute to a common man who had the courage to pursue his own dreams, overcoming various obstacles placed in his path.
I commend the book particularly to science teachers. It contains a wealth of information and many valuable lessons about good science done by a very ordinary, yet extraordinary, individual. (Publishers: McDonald and Woodward, Blacksburg, VA)
In 1991, Mary and I concluded a European trip by stopping in New England to visit Roland Boucher, a former PanAm meteorologist friend who had retreated in retirement to a log cabin in a valley across from Vermont's Mount Mansfield. He delighted in giving us a tour of the places of interest in his beloved state. One of these was Jerico, home of Wilson Bentley.
We visited the Old Mill, now a curio shop devoted to Bentley as hometown hero. We came home with two plates and cups imprinted with -- you guested it -- a large dendritic snowflake.
We will celebrate receipt of this book by a symbolic meal -- snowflake soufflé and dendrite-spiked cider served on Bentley china.
Thank you, Duncan.
Visit www.snowflakebentley.com to learn more about Bentley and to see 26 snowflake crystal photographs.
Cloud History Topics
Luke Howard -- "The Godfather of Clouds | Wilson A. Bentley -- "The Snowflake Man"
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