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The Stamp Designers
The Stamp Designers
Steve Buchanan | Lonnie Busch | Christopher Calle | Paul Calle | Ken Dallison | Phil Jordan | Ethel Kessler | Clarence Lee | Kenneth Libbrecht | Terry McCaffrey | Piotr Naszarkowski |
Tim O'Brien
| Howard Paine | Paul Salmon | Richard Sheaff
Stamp Designer Biographies
If you are a USPS stamp designer and wish to have your biography listed here,
or, if you are listed here and wish to update your pictures or biography,
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(Knottywood Treasures email can be found on our Home page.)

Kenneth Libbrecht The Worm!

Build a better snowflake, and the world will shovel a path to your door. --KGL

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Kenneth Libbrecht

Kenneth Libbrecht is currently the Executive Officer for Physics at Caltech. He received his Ph.D., at Princeton in 1984. His field is gravitational wave detection and crystal growth.

His research now centers around snowflake formation and propagation. Libbrecht, chairman of the physics department at California Institute of Technology, took the photographs of the snow crystals used for the US Postal stamps in Fairbanks, Alaska; the Upper Peninsula of Michigan; and in Cochrane, Ontario, Canada, according to a press release from Caltech media relations.

Where can the best snowflakes be found?
Libberecht says, "Northern Ontario provides some really excellent specimens to photograph. The temperature is cold, but not too cold, and the weather brings light snow frequently. Fairbanks sometimes offers some unusual crystal types, because it's so cold. Warmer climates, for example, New York State and the vicinity, tend to produce less spectacular crystals."

How to photograph a snowflake
He uses a microscope with a digital camera attached to photograph the snow crystals. He explained the process. "When photographing in the field, I first let the crystals fall onto a piece of cardboard. Then I find one I like, pick it up using a small paintbrush, and place it on a microscope slide. I then put it under the microscope, adjust the focus and lighting, and take the shot. You need to search through a lot of snowflakes to find the most beautiful specimens."

Libbrecht has been studing the physics behind the formation of snow crystals and snowflakes for several years.

Want more information on snowflakes?
Kenneth Libbrecht has written many books on the subject and also has a fantastic web site on the subject. For more information go to:

His books include:
"Field Guide to Snowflakes"
"The Little Book of Snowflakes"
"The Snowflake: Winter's Secret Beauty "
All of his books, calendars, screen savers, and photos are available for purchase at his website.

The USPS stamps: "Holiday Snowflakes"
Libbrecht's photographs are featured on the 2006 U.S. Christmas stamps that were issued October 5. He took these pictures in Fairbanks, Alaska (upper right image), in Houghton, Michigan (lower left), and in northern Ontario (the other two).

Richard Sheaff designed the stamps using Libbrecht's photographs.


United States Postal Service Holiday Snowflakes
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Colorano First Day Covers "Holiday Snowflakes"

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