Ask Dr. Universe: What is a crystal?

PULLMAN, Wash. – Maybe you’ve caught a snowflake on your tongue. Or sprinkled salt on your food. Perhaps you’ve imagined what it would be like to explore a big crystal cave.

Egg “geodes.” Follow story link to see a video about how to make them.

Crystals come in all shapes, sizes and colors. A lot of them are born from hot magma deep in the Earth that cools slowly. If you look at a rock, you might even be able to spot some of these crystals.

We can find crystals in nature, but engineers and scientists can also make them in labs. My friend Kelvin Lynn, a materials engineer, is really curious about crystals. He makes them in his lab here at Washington State University.

Read all of this answer from Dr. Universe at


A service of Washington State University, Ask Dr. Universe answers some of the most interesting, tough and smart questions from curious kids all around the world.