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Paul Alexander, who held a Guinness World Record for living the longest with the help of an iron lung, has died. Here, medical staff stand among iron lung machines in an emergency polio ward at Haynes Memorial Hospital in Boston, Mass., on Aug. 16, 1955, when the city's polio epidemic hit a high of 480 cases. AP hide caption

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Bobi, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo Portuguese dog, poses for a photo with his Guinness World Records certificates for the oldest dog ever, at his home in Conqueiros, central Portugal, on May 20, 2023. Jorge Jeronimo/AP hide caption

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Jorge Jeronimo/AP

The largest snow crystal ever photographed, according to scientist Kenneth Libbrecht. It measures 10 mm from tip to tip. Kenneth Libbrecht hide caption

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Kenneth Libbrecht

Winter storm brings snow to the East Coast. But what's in a snowflake?

A winter storm brought heavy rain and snow to parts of the East Coast this weekend, which got us thinking about snowflakes. Those intricate, whimsical crystals are a staple of magical wintry scenes, but how big can they really get? Well, according to the Guinness World Record keepers, the "largest snowflake" ever recorded was a whopping 15 inches in diameter. It was spotted near Missoula, Montana in 1887. But Kenneth Libbrecht, a physicist at Caltech, has long been skeptical of that record. So he set out to find what makes a snowflake a snowflake and whether that 1887 record is scientifically possible. You can read more about what he discovered here.

Winter storm brings snow to the East Coast. But what's in a snowflake?

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