Ester Dalvit

Mathematics Department, University of Trento
I use computer graphics to present and explain mathematical concepts in an appealing way both for mathematicians and non-specialists. Computer aided visualization is the place where I can merge my love for mathematics (especially topology), communication of science, computer play and art.
My movies are created with the open source software POV-Ray.
Symmetries in a snow crystal
Snow crystals have an amazing variety of shapes, but their structure is always the same: they have the same symmetry of a regular hexagon. A single slice is enough to reconstruct the whole crystal, using only reflections (1, 2, 3, 4 or 6 reflections, drawn in red in the movie) or rotations (of 60° or multiples, drawn in yellow in the movie).
In mathematical terms, we can say that the symmetry group of a snow crystal is dihedral of order 12.

I realized this short movie for the Science Museum of Trento, Italy (, where it is currently displayed together with an exhibit inviting visitors to play with mirrors to understand reflections and symmetries.