Some shapes fit together into a tight stack, with no gaps between them.
But stacking some shapes—spheres, for example—creates tiny gaps between them.
With shapes that fit together perfectly—something called tessellation—you can stack them endlessly with no wasted space.
For centuries, artists have explored symmetrical patterns in tessellations.
Natural systems follow the same geometric rules for using space efficiently, and they create beautiful patterns in the process.
When plants need to pack a lot into a tiny space, they can generate highly ordered patterns, such as this one based on the Fibonacci series of numbers.
Even where space is less constrained, as in this cracked mud surface, nature still follows geometric rules for fitting things together to expend the least amount of energy.
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