Secrets of the Beehive
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http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,3895593,00.html  


Keith Devlin; Guardian Unlimited Archive  
The 4th century geometer Pappus was one of several ancient Greek mathematicians who suspected that the elegant shape of the honeycomb was a result not of an innate beesense of geometric beauty but of nature's efficiency. The repeating pattern of sixsided figures you see in a crosssection of a honeycomb, Pappus guessed, used the least amount of wax to build the walls. His guess, in an essay on "the sagacity of bees", became known as the Honeycomb Conjecture. It resisted all attempts to prove it until a few weeks ago, when mathematician Thomas Hales of the University of Michigan announced that he had cracked the puzzle...  


Levels:  High School (912), College 
Languages:  English 
Resource Types:  Articles 
Math Topics:  Order/Lattices, Convex/Discrete Geometry, Triangles and Other Polygons 
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