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What he found was a protein that seemed to prevent ice crystals from growing. As studies of these intriguing "anti-freeze" proteins progressed, they were discovered in many more organisms - fish, insects, bacteria, fungi and plants that have to survive freezing temperatures. Many of our more hardy frost-surviving vegetables and even our humble lawns produce these ice structuring proteins when there is a harsh frost.


 cryogenics ice cream ice crystal protein
An international row is brewing over claims that a strain of bacteria was brought back to life after having remained dormant in a rock crystal for 250 million years.


 ancient bacteria revival crystal hibernation
Wilson Bentley (1865-1931) is credited with capturing the first images of single snowflakes on camera. He made thousands of the jewel-like prints, no two alike. His photomicrography technique involved a microscope and a bellows camera. He caught pneumonia in a blizzard and died just weeks after the publication of his book Snow Crystals.


 snow snowflake photography crystal ice Ivana Šebestová
Mexico's Cave of Crystals stunned geologists when it was first discovered in 2000. The underground chamber contains some of the largest natural crystals ever found - some of the selenite structures have grown to more than 10m long.


 Mexico crystal geology cave
Researchers have discovered a magnetic equivalent to electricity: single magnetic charges that can behave and interact like electrical ones. The work is the first to make use of the magnetic monopoles that exist in special crystals known as spin ice.


 electricity magnetricity current monopole spin ice magnet physics crystal
Twinkling in the sky is a diamond star of 10 billion trillion trillion carats, astronomers have discovered. The cosmic diamond is a chunk of crystallised carbon, 4,000 km across, some 50 light-years from the Earth in the constellation Centaurus. It's the compressed heart of an old star that was once bright like our Sun but has since faded and shrunk.


 carbon crystal star astronomy chemistry
The only known natural example of the material that won last year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry comes from an ancient meteorite.


 crystal Solar System quasicrystal space meteorite