How much math does a bee know? Well, you will be surprised to find out that they surely know a little more geometry than most of us (humans).After years and years of evolution they decided to chose hexagons for their honeycombs. And it seems that it is not a random decision. Their process was a long and hard one.
Let us think for a second that we are bees. You will start with the natural fact that you need to build a storage for your food, for your babies, etc. So you will think about some geometric shapes; lets say you start with a circle and you put a lot of circles close to one another, but than, you realize there will be gaps, like here:
And you don’t want to see that happening, you cannot have a house with gaps in it, and obviously you don’t need one where you have to spent most of your ‘money’ (in this case wax) on it and you still cannot store everything. And then you start to think of shapes that don’t leave gaps, such as these:
After you have the triangle, square and hexagon, you, as a bee, start to think at which one is better. So you small smart bee start to think about compactness. Somewhere in ancient Roman Impair, Marcus Terentius Varro First proposed that a construction made out of hexagons it is more compact. But it took humans some years to realize this is indeed true. ( but we bees discovered it earlier) A mathematician at the University of Michigan, Thomas Hales, solved the riddle in 1999, it was a mathematical proof.
But we bees know better, our honeycombs show that we are incredible good at geometry, we love hexagons and we can build a perfect one with our eyes closed. And if humans are nice and take care of us, maybe we can give them more than honey, maybe we can give then KNOWLEDGE.
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