Learning About Lichtenberg

Learning About Lichtenberg

This week’s new arrival of mango wood picture frames with Lichtenberg patterns inspired me to dive down the rabbit hole of the internet and learn more about all things Lichtenberg.

Lichtenberg figures are the result of a tree branch like electrical discharge on or in an insulating material. The figures can be seen on a number of different items from acrylic to wood and even on the human body. 

Interesting Facts:

  • Named for the German physicist that discovered and studied them in 1777, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg. 
  • History records that Georg was a noted procrastinator often starting but never finishing multiple projects. (Really history? Did you have to call him out for all of eternity on a personal flaw?)
  • On a visit to England, Georg was received by King George III and Queen Charlotte. 
  • A crater on the Moon is named Lichtenberg in his honor.
  • The creation of Lichtenberg figures can be dangerous and has resulted in a number of deaths. It’s definitely one of those activities best left to the experts! 
  • Today, Lichtenberg figures are considered examples of fractals
  • Lichtenberg figures can be seen on the skin of lightening strike victims but typically disappears within a few days. 
  • Lightning is a naturally occurring three dimensional Lichtenberg figure.
  • When the figures are created on wood, the type of wood used and its grain have an affect on the shape of the pattern. 

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  • Apryl Doster
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