News FocusMathematics

Random Packing Puts Mathematics in a Box

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Science  17 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5460, pp. 1910-1912
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5460.1910c

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For decades, mathematicians and physicists have been arguing about how closely one can pack randomly arranged spheres into a box. Now a team of engineers appears to have settled the debate with a surprising answer: There is no single answer.