Tales Told by the Spheres: Closest Packing

  • Amy C. Edmondson
Part of the Design Science Collection book series (DSC)


Much has been written over the years by mathematicians and scientists about the problem of “closepacking” equiradius spheres. It’s not a subject that the rest of humanity has tended to get excited about; however, the orderly patterns revealed by these packings are unexpectedly fascinating. Closepacking equiradius spheres might at first sound like the type of abstract mathematical game Fuller railed against; after all, there’s no such thing as a sphere. But if nature exhibits no examples of pure spheres—that is, no perfectly continuous surfaces equidistant from one center—we can still discuss the concept of a spherical domain. Imagine various approximations of the model, such as a soap bubble or, less fragile, a Ping Pong ball. The concept of multiple equiradius spheres turns out to be quite useful, providing a superb tool with which to investigate the properties of space. Let’s look into some of the reasons why.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston, Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy C. Edmondson
    • 1
  1. 1.New YorkUSA

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