The Miraculous Space Efficiency of Honeycomb

Excerpted from Single Digits: In Praise of Small Numbers by Marc Chamberland. Out now from Princeton University Press.

What do grocers and honeybees have in common? The obvious answer is that they are both adept at providing food for others. But there is a richer, more technical answer to this question: These two groups know how to efficiently pack their resources.

Honeycombs, made from the wax secreted by bees, are used to store honey, pollen, and larvae. For thousands of years, the...

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