News of the WeekMathematics

Proving the Perfection of the Honeycomb

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  27 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5432, pp. 1338-1339
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5432.1338

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Scientists have long assumed that a hexagonal lattice allows bees to store the most honey while using the least beeswax to separate them, but no one could prove it. Then last month, at the Turán Workshop in Mathematics, Convex and Discrete Geometry in Budapest, a mathematician presented his proof that a hexagonal honeycomb has walls with the shortest total length, per unit area, of any design that divides a plane into equal-sized cells.