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Math Monday: Hexagonal stick arrangements

By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

hexagonal sticks pencils Math Monday: Hexagonal stick arrangements

Interpenetrating hexagonal arrangements of sticks are a challenging mathematical exercise to assemble from pencils. Four different directions are used, as color-coded here. The above sculpture, 72 Pencils, has tiny dots of glue to hold itself together, but you can easily use eight rubber bands around the ends.

hexagonal sticks Math Monday: Hexagonal stick arrangements

The idea scales up to larger sizes very nicely, as can be seen in this version made by David Russell from three foot long dowels.

hexagonal sticks burning Math Monday: Hexagonal stick arrangements

And what better way to celebrate the joys of mathematics than with a ritual conflagration!


Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.

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