An anonymous reader writes "LiveScience is reporting that it may be possible for two snowflakes to be alike after all. For anyone who studies probability, this seems reasonable, given that the article mentions that 10^24 snowflakes fall in any given year. The article contains links to fascinating snowflake pictures. From the article: 'A typical snow crystal weighs roughly one millionth of a gram. This means a cubic foot of snow can contain roughly one billion crystals ... "It is probably safe to say that the possible number of snow crystal shapes exceeds the estimated number of atoms in the known universe," Nelson said. Still, while "no two snowflakes are alike" might hold true for larger snowflakes, Nelson figures it might ring false for smaller crystals that sometimes fall before they have a chance to fully develop. "How likely is it that two snowflakes are alike? Very likely if we define alike to mean that we would have trouble distinguishing them under a microscope and if we include the crystals that hardly develop beyond the prism stage--that is, the smallest snow crystals," Nelson said.'"