The Kid Should See This

The Sphere-Packing Problem

The next time you’re eating candy, ask yourself: “What’s the best way to stack this?” Then start arranging them to find out. The answer to this question can be found in the shape of the candy.

In this University of Sheffield video, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Dr. Eugenia Cheng explores The Sphere-Packing Problem and the mathematics behind the perfect stack of Maltesers. “The question is: What’s the best way of packing spheres into a given space so that you can get as many spheres in as possible?” Also: Why are beverage cans arranged in a grid?

Related reading: Circle-packing, circle-packing and sphere-packing from Wolfram Mathworld, and Multidimensional “Sphere Packing” Solutions Stack Up as a Major Mathematical Breakthrough.

Next: The Ingenious Design of the Aluminum Beverage Can.

Plus: Dinara Kasko’s incredible edible geometric cakes, the Kresling-Pattern and our origami world, and why do honeybees love hexagons?

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