FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Snowflakes Under A Microscope?

Mecca Fowler | Contributor

An image shared on Facebook over 200 times purportedly shows snowflakes underneath a microscope.

Verdict: False

The image shows a paper sculpture inspired by the human microbiome.

Fact Check: 

The claim about the picture of intricate white shapes crops up on social media from time to time, such as in recent days and earlier this year in January. It is not, however, an actual depiction of snow under a microscope. (RELATED: Does This Image Show The Great Sphinx Covered In Snow In Egypt?)

A reverse image search revealed the photo actually shows a paper sculpture created by the France-based artist Rogan Brown. In the Facebook post, the image of the sculpture, titled “Magic Circle Variation 5 Detail,” has been rotated and cropped. A photo of the piece can be found on Brown’s website.

His “Magic Circle” series, from which “Magic Circle Variation 5” stems, is “inspired by the human microbiome,” Brown explains on his website. For the series, he “researched images of bacteria and created stylized sculptural motifs that I have then placed in reef-like compositions celebrating the diversity and potential beauty of this hidden world,” according to his website. Several news outlets, such as NPR, Daily Mail and Smithsonian Magazine, have highlighted Brown’s artwork in the past.

Brown describes his body of work as “an attempt by a non-scientist, an outsider, to visualize, comprehend and assimilate these new ideas and new ways of seeing the world, whether it involves our changing perception of bacteria or the paradigm shifts in our comprehension of the physical world that emerge from quantum physics.” He has created pieces by cutting the paper with a scalpel and by using a laser, according to his website.

While the Facebook photo does not depict snowflakes under a microscope, actual microscope images of snowflakes can be viewed in articles published by CNN and NPR.

Mecca Fowler



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