April 24, 2005

Its not just the Hexagon.

Recently I happened to notice the "hexagonal" structure of a particular bee's hive here in the hostel and I couldn't help but think as to what was so special about the hexagon.
Googling is what I did and this is a nice site:

What it essentially says is that it can be mathematically shown (with a lot of complexity) that the hexagonal shape is the best possible solution for a scenario such a hive.
Now, I wonder as to whether a bee could actually come up with this idea or is it just evolution. I see most of you choosing the "evolution" option and that's what I think too.
Here's a second opinion:
These tiny animals use the hexagon form innately, just because they are “taught” and inspired so by their Lord.
Sure there's a lot of philosophical touch in this and I did get it from a philosophical kinda site but well, did seem like a good option too.
And supposedly fossils dating back to millions of years ago also suggest that hexagonal structures were popular among bees even back then. This kinda does kick the evolutionary theory around a bit.
Also think about this:
We blame or rather give credit to the evolutionay theory for most of the things like the Giraffee's long neck (I hope I got the spelling rite) and other such things. But come to think of it, a particular solution like "hexagon" is a definite one. In the sens that it can't improve.
Therefore, there is no further evolution possible on this design.
Doesn't this thing scare u. I mean it is as though to say that all possible evolutions are done and well, we humans could as well count our last days (Kalyug or Satan kinda thingie).

I just tot I shud share this vth u all (if ne1's there) and see what ppl think abt this.
Think for enough time on such topics and u might end up questioning the very existence of the human race and it does get pretty scary at that point.
This discussion cud go on for a long time; I'll take it up later again.
Au revoir.


Blogger Nenin said...

"no further evolution possible on this design"- does not exist. However, it can be said that considering external and inter conditions of a system, evolution has reached an equilibrium. For instance, (assuming bees know nothing about geomectrical shapes)they construct a non-hexagonal structure, they might be more vunerable to predation. Another possibility exists that the material that makes up a bee hive, takes a hexagonal shape on solidification. Or the hexagonal shape , along with texture and colour closely resemble a branch of a tree. Hence, contributing to its defence against predation.
Additionally, G's are vegetarians and might have evolved from its ancestors who live in an area where only tall trees existed. OR, lived in an area in which they faced competition for low laying vegetation and as a suurvival strategy, they adopted themselves to vegetation on taller trees.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

according to places i read and what i think now human evolution will now go in the direction of spiritual evolution of mind.

12:05 AM  
Blogger anshul said...

Well,Nenin u r right abt the G's and the bees but even to say that the evolution has reached a kinda equilibrium is a scary thought. Coz it means that something that nature started has been completed to a certain phase. U know it always good to know that things r going on as they are and there is no CHANGE coming.

Anonymous,its a very good thought to think that we shall now move to spiritual evolution but again i believe that things go on and don't abruptly start. We can say that now physical evolution will be slower than spiritual evolution and hence predominantly we shall have spiritual evolution. But even then i believe something will have to trigger this change. I don't think it will happen automatically.
Somethings gotta give in and only then can a new phase start.

I agree that a new phase MUST come now and for that,something phenomenal needs to happen to trigger it off. Something....,infact,anything.

1:08 AM  
Anonymous veneet said...

In fact, there is conjecture (which I think has been proved) by this name - "The Honeycomb Conjecture". Might like cheking it out on the internet.

4:52 AM  
Blogger Nenin said...


"Minimal Honeycombs

The minimal cell is a part of the honeycomb from a beehive. The cells are used both for the storage of honey and for the developing larvae.
The hexagonal structure in the hive is a wonderful example of the ways in which minimum-material or energy solutions tend to evolve in nature: in this case the hexagonal lattice requires the minimum of wax to surround the largest area. Only triangles, squares and hexagons can be used to fill a space without gaps, but for a given circumference of material, the hexagon surrounds the largest area. (In terms of a single unit, of course, it's the circle that's best (as a polygonal limit), but they leave gaps when packed.)

There's an overarching property of physical systems: they tend to seek states of minimum energy. (A ball rolling in a saucer will end up at the base, where its potential energy is least, after it's lost its kinetic energy to sound and heat; a bubble forms a sphere, because the total strain energy of all the molecular links is least; molecules tend to pack in structures which exhibit overall minimum energy; and so on.)

In evolution, time and time again we see cases where minimum materials are used, which of course amounts to the same thing, since an organism has only a limited energy budget to move around, build internal structure, build offspring, acquire/construct food, or more generally interact with its environment. There's survival merit in making the best use of available materials, so it's no surprise that there's a tendency towards the most efficient organisms.

Incidentally, bees don't actually make hexagonal cells! If you film the construction of a honeycomb, you see that each bee makes a tubular structure; it's the presence of the surrounding cells that causes each cell to have a hexagonal shape. This is also the way in which we tend to group circular objects. (Imagine packing a lot of tins of cat food as close as possible on a table.) I'd argue that the 'choice' of hexagon is nothing of the sort: the evolutionary mechanisms operating here are to do with the way in which each bee decides where to build the next tube, and "as near as possible to another two" will result in the packing we see, given that the least time/material/energy spent on this task means more time/material/energy for others, and thus a fractionally better chance of survival. Complex systems out of simple rules..."

Other stable hexagons- benzene and graphite crystals.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Nenin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:25 AM  
Blogger anshul said...

Well, Nenin's last post clears things up a bit. Its just nature that puts the hexagonal shape and the bees simply make sure that the cells are close enuf, they don't make it hexagonal.
Phew, and i was thinking that we humans were being outsmarted by bees for millions of years !!
he he, looks like it was just me :))

11:29 AM  
Blogger Vinod Khare said...

One question that Nenin's post brings to my mind is - why do systems in nature try to achiev the state of minimum energy? The bubbles are spheres, planets are spheroids, atoms normally exist in the ground state and so on. Why?

1:56 AM  
Blogger anshul said...

I believe it might have something to do with thermodynamic things like maximum entropy etc.

3:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinio you all have to much time on your hands
-also 4rm random googler

2:54 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home