Giants in History: Ukichiro Nakaya

The first artificial snowflake 

Ukichiro Nakaya ( 1900 - 1962)


Japanese physicist Ukichiro Nakaya (1900-1962) made the world’s first artificial snowflakes. He started his research on snow crystals in the early 1930s at Hokkaido University, where there is an unlimited supply of natural snow in winter. By taking over 3,000 photographs, he established a classification of natural snow crystals and described their relationship with weather conditions. His work still remains a primary reference on crystal shapes. In 1936, after several years of research, he successfully produced the first artificial snow crystal on the tip of a single rabbit hair in his laboratory. "Snowflakes are letters sent from heaven," he wrote in his book “Snow Crystals: Natural and Artificial”. Learn more about Hokkaido University's Low Temperature Science.

Hokkaido University
Academic discipline: 
Giants in History promotional banner