Conversations with Snow and Ice


The Art and Science through Ukichiro Nakaya

"Science is a collaboration between humans and nature."

©Shiro Takatani
Japanese physicist Ukichiro Nakaya (1900-1962) was the first scientist to produce artificial snow crystals. In his studies of snow and ice, his reputa­tion rested on a sincere admiration for the wonder, beauty and mystery of nature, a disposition he acquired during his childhood in the snowy north of Japan. At once observant and imaginative, his investigations demon­strated complementary insights into science and art.

"Snow crystals are letters sent from heaven", he wrote, suggesting the importance of creative "conversation" with nature.

The exhibits in this room highlight five aspects of Ukichiro Nakaya's work:
1. Snow Crystals, Natural and Artificial: Ukichiro, the experimental physicist
2. The Physics of Form: A student of nature
3. Physical Science and Society: Ukichiro's fieldwork
4. Investigation into Ice Crystals: "Ice is a metal"
5. Geophysics of the Arctic: Ukichiro explores Greenland

In surveying his major scientific achievements, his fundamental interests, connections between his science and society, his broad scientific activities and sources of his imagination, we may discover valuable messages for today's generations.