Math Department


Geometry in Nature

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Geometric shapes and figures abound in nature. The honeycomb of bees is one such example; individual cells have hexagonal openings. The spider web is constructed with a series of polygons anchored in radial thread lines. The orbits of planes and stars are elliptical with some nearly circular. Th cross sections of many fruits and trees are circular. A stone thrown on still water causes the formation of a series of circular waves with increasing circumferences as the ripples move outward. Arc shapes can be found in petals of many flowers. The beautiful rainbow is in the form of arc.

Symmetry is one of the most geometric characteristics in nature. Symmetry brings balance and enhances appearance. The symmetrical and almost perfect cone of Mount Mayon and Mount Fuji make it world famous. We find symmetry abounding in leaves, flowers and fruits.

Artists and builders of all cultures were and are influenced by the geometric shapes and figures observe in nature and have since time immemorial incorporating their observations in their works. This, the pyramids of Egypt and the temples, palaces and churches around the world are wondrously decorated with geometric figures and combinations of them.

Engineers apply triangles in building structures because it is the most stable construction. (You will discover why when you study triangles.) Towers and bridges shape are often constructed with a series of triangles. For rotating  motions, the circular shape is a must. The circular shape is applied in innumerable machine parts – wheels, camshafts to name but a few.

Indeed, everybody once in a while applies geometric knowledge in his/her various activities like estimating lengths, areas and/or surface areas and volumes and perhaps the cost of materials.

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