Slippery Rock University is the only place I can think of where talking about the weather is not a cliché way of making small talk, but is legitimately the most interesting thing happening in a student’s world on a given day. As of lately, SRU has been filled with talk about snow. Why the borderline obsession? Maybe it’s just a part of SRU culture. After all, this is the same group that worships a glorified gas station for their made to order food. And, I can say with certainty than most that SRU isn’t exactly known for having breaking news. But maybe, there is something fascinating about this crystallized water vapor falling from the sky. Maybe this entity for which we express such hatred is actually something to appreciate.
Water has some unbelievably incredible properties that make life possible. The students I tutor for General Chemistry II got to hear me go off on a slight tangent earlier this week about the beauty of the intermolecular forces between water molecules, and I didn’t even get into the implications of this on heat capacity and cohesion and adhesion and how it allows for all of life and…we’ve been talking about water potential all week in my plant physiology class so I could keep going, but I think you get the idea.
I’m not going to get into all the nerdy science of it here, but let’s just say snow is a really cool derivative of water (a cool pun about snow? Yeah, I went there. But, you didn’t really expect any less from a column called “It’s Rocket Science,” did you?).
My favorite fact about snow is that there is actually “watermelon” snow in the Sierra Nevada of California that appears well…a watermelon-colored pink or red thanks to a cryophilic (cold-loving) species of green algae (with a red pigment), Chlamydomonas nivalis. How weird would it be to just see pink snow falling from the sky?
The truth is, while the science of snow is awesome and while there’s a lot that can be said about it, the true beauty of snow for me is in the memories you make while snowboarding with friends, building a snowman with your significant other or watching it fall from outside your window as you enjoy that cup of hot chocolate. So, stop talking about the snow and start enjoying it.