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The information graphic showing the history of the human genome assembly is part of my series of designs created for the Scientific American Graphic Science page. Together with Senior Graphics Editor Jen Christiansen, we've looked at everything from the evolution of the genomes of SARS-Cov-2 strains to how pets contribute to the bacterial flora in your home.

It's Snowing in my CPU — a Snowflake catalogue

She was all stars and arrows, squares and triangles of ice and light, like a church window; she was like a flower with many shining petals; she was like lace and she was like a diamond. But best of all, she was herself and unlike any of her kind.
— Paul Gallico, Snowflake

Go ahead, meet some snowflakes.


Somewhere in the world, it's snowing. But you don't need to go far—it's always snowing on this page. Explore light flurries, snowflake families and individual flakes. There are many unusual snowflakes and snowflake family 12 and family 46 are very interesting.

But don't settle for only pixel snowflakes—make an STL file and 3D print your own flakes!

Ad blockers may interfere with some flake images—the names of flakes can trigger ad filters.

And if after reading about my flakes you want more, get your frozen fix with Kenneth Libbrecht's excellent work and Paul Gallico's Snowflake.

This is a collection of snowflakes simulated using the Gravner-Griffeath model, composed of 15,541 snowflakes grouped into 50 families using k-means clustering. This snowflake collection took 128.4 CPU days to compute.

Flakes are categorized by gender. A flake is categorized as female if the freezing parameter `\kappa < \kappa_{\text{median}}`, otherwise it is male.

Each snowflake is also given a unique name generated from a recursive neural network assigned alphabetically based on the snowflake's `\theta` attachment parameter.

snowflake artwork

So, we drew things.

 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski buy artwork
A flake grows. (BUY ARTWORK)

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16 girl snowflakes (BUY ARTWORK)

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16 boy snowflakes (BUY ARTWORK)

 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski buy artwork
The effect of the `\mu` parameter on the shape of a snowflake. (BUY ARTWORK)

 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski buy artwork
The effect of the `\theta` parameter on the shape of a snowflake. (BUY ARTWORK)

 / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski buy artwork
Neradia. (BUY ARTWORK)

a hundred frozen things

Click on a flake to explore it.

girl snowflakes

boy snowflakes

© 1999–2022 Martin Krzywinski | contact | Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences CentreBC Cancer Research CenterBC CancerPHSA