AUG 13, 2017 06:48 AM PDT

Ever wonder why there are so many hexagons in nature?


If you have ever wandered around in nature you may have noticed how many geometric shapes there are in the world that have absolutely no design from humans. Take snail shell spirals or starfishes' bodies or the symmetry of a flower's petals; all those nature-y things are out there on their own existing in near mathematical perfection! Hexagons, in particular, are often seen in nature: bee hives are the common example, but definitely not the only. Basalt columns and insect eyes also form hexagonal patterns. But what makes hexagons so special?

Well, as it turns out, it really is all about math. A hexagon is the shape that best fills a plane with equal size units and leaves no wasted space. Hexagonal packing also minimizes the perimeter for a given area because of its 120-degree angles. With this structure, the pull of surface tension in each direction is most mechanically stable, which is why even though bees make their honey combs with circular units, the end result when the wax hardens into place is hexagonal. Want to learn more about the crazy math of nature? Watch the video!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
OCT 20, 2019
Cardiology
OCT 20, 2019
No Increase In Risk For Home Births
Most babies in the United States are born in hospitals. That said, the number of mothers electing to give birth at home is on the rise. This trend lik...
OCT 20, 2019
Clinical & Molecular DX
OCT 20, 2019
Hepatitis A Causes Public Health Crisis In Florida
Although highly contagious, Hepatitis A is considered a rare disease. It has largely been controlled through immunizations. That said, in Florida, Hepatiti...
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
Will Aerogel Help Us Colonize Mars?
As the interest in colonizing Mars grows, researchers are scrambling to find miracle materials that might help with this long-term goal. In addition to shi...
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
Here's Why NASA Wants to Learn More About Metallic Asteroids
NASA’s Psyche mission will investigate the properties of a unique metallic asteroid residing between Mars and Jupiter as it orbits the Sun. It’...
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
All About NASA's Upcoming Plan to Explore Europa
Planetary scientists have been in search of potentially habitable worlds for years, and perhaps one of the most promising places we have yet to explore in...
OCT 20, 2019
Plants & Animals
OCT 20, 2019
Watch a Pod of Dolphins Play Catch With a Pufferfish
Playing catch with a ball of some sort is a popular past time for humans, but as it would seem, even dolphins might enjoy partaking in similar behaviors. I...
Loading Comments...