The Joy of Hexagons

Dr David Bourne (University of Glasgow)

Friday 2nd November, 2012 16:00-17:00 516


A common goal of my research is to understand patterns that appear in continuum mechanics: patterns in fluid flows, wrinkling patterns in elastic sheets, and patterns in the microstructure of materials. And my favourite pattern of all is the hexagonal tiling. We see hexagons everywhere, in bee hives, in patterned ground (e.g., Giant's Causeway), in convection of fluids (Rayleigh-Bénard convection). In this talk I will describe how my recent work in materials science, on diblock copolymers, took me on a surprising journey through the subjects of urban planning, computational geometry and covering theorems to arrive ultimately once again at the beautiful hexagon.

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