Truly living up to the title of America's First Cloud Physicist, Wilson Alwyn Bentley grew up on a small farm in Vermont, and had a love of knowledge instilled in him by his mother from a young age. As a boy he developed an intense passion for studying and observing water in its many forms. After spending a period of time drawing snowflakes, he began to take photographs through a microscope. Throughout his life, he published numerous articles about his work with ice crystals, and wrote emphatically about these formations, noting that "A careful study of this internal structure not only reveals new and far greater elegance of form that the simple outlines exhibit, but by means of these wonderfully delicate and exquisite figures much may be learned of the history of each crystal." As one might surmise, Bentley made thousands of glass lantern slides of dew, frost, and ice crystals, and part of this collection made its way to the University of Wisconsin. 1183 of these slides have been placed online in this fine archive, and visitors may browse them or search the archive by classification (based on each crystal's structure). Be prepared, by clicking the Find All button, all 1183 slides will begin to load at once, which may slow your browsing down just a bit. The site is rounded out by an extended biographical essay on Bentley and information about snow crystal classification.


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