Shapes of Nature

Everytime I laid hands on a straw I sincerely indulged in the task of blowing bubbles into the glass. Actually, I may need to re-phrase that from the past-tense to the present continuous tense. Age has restrained me in more ways than one, and this is one thing I now hesitate doing in Public – though my companions cringe on the occasional bubble bursting forth in Public.

Today, I gave into the callings of the child in me, and decided to blow bubbles of air into a hot glass of tea. One would assume that the bubbles would be spherical/circular in nature, but shape changes to hexagons when the concentration of the bubbles grew. I withdrew slightly, and the shape of the bubbles came back to their original circular shape.
Blow again: Hexagonal
Withdraw slightly: Circular
Blow again: Hexagonal ….. You get the drift. (It has been a while since I observed bubbles with interest. So, pardon me)

I’d like to hear other’s opinions and thoughts on this topic after trying out the art of blowing bubbles into one’s cup. If the act is performed in the midst of adults, you could all accomplish the following:
1) Provide mild entertainment to those staring overtly at you
2) Lay the foundation for future claims of instability due to stress
3) Gather members to your “Bubble-club” by taking those who admit shyly to you that they like blowing bubbles too.


Having this observation safely tucked in, I wondered whether the shape of honey-combs when it is being built is circular, and as the concentration grows becomes hexagonal.

A theory given by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, is that the shape simply results from the process of individual bees putting cells together: somewhat analogous to the boundary shapes created in a field of soap bubbles. In support of this he notes that queen cells, which are constructed singly, are irregular and lumpy with no apparent attempt at efficiency.

Well, well…….Kutty Columbus! Get back to Work!

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8 thoughts on “Shapes of Nature”

  1. Interesting blog… I digged up something from the web and this is what I got…

    “When two bubbles merge, the bubbles will adopt the shape with the smallest possible surface area. Their common wall will bulge into the larger bubble, as smaller bubbles have a higher internal pressure. If the bubbles are of equal size, the wall will be flat.

    At a point where two or more bubbles meet, they sort themselves out so that only three bubble walls meet along a line, separated by angles of 120°. This is the most efficient choice, again, which is also the reason why the cells of a beehive use the same 120° angle, thus forming hexagons”

  2. The interesting thing is the shape is constantly determined by outside factors – the minute the pressure decreases, it takes on a circular shape – pretty much like Life wouldn’t you say? Our selves are constantly getting re-aligned to adjust to the surroundings enabling us to adapt.

  3. You are absolutely right… Under too much pressure from the outside factors, some people do crumble as well, just like a bubble…

  4. Thank U Saumya– now I see yet another similarity between us!?

    My brother almost kept disowning me for a continuous period of 7-8 years when I used to do this amongst *many many other things* whenever we went into an eatery. Ofcourse– the allegiance has shifted to Da Man(u) of late!! Shapes created are wonderful to look at….

    One more of mine is called the Pe-Sa-Cha combo (read as Pepper/Salt/Chutney). The important point is not to stir this while making it. Will show u the next time we see each other 🙂

  5. I cringe when Saumya does that. Sometimes I kind of see this as a movie and enjoy and sometime I think it as Karma 🙂

  6. Hee hee hee Meera. Let me know when we can start the Pe-Sa-Cho tutorial (preferably in the honorable company of those who cringe)

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