Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Honeycomb Light of the Christos


The most interesting stable patterns appear right at the edge of chaos...The specific interesting pattern that appears is a honeycomb arrangement of hexagons. This is happening far from equilibrium, thanks to the energy flowing through an open system and being dissipated. This is the secret of the existence of order in the Universe, and specifically the secret of life.
- John Gribbin, Deep Simplicity
The phenomenon described here is called the Rayleigh-Bénard instability, or, more simply, Bénard convection. The individual facets in the honeycomb arrangement of hexagons are called Bénard cells. They are named after French chemist Henri Bénard who first recorded this phenomenon in 1900. Because the phenomenon was investigated by the British physicist Lord Rayleigh, the conditions that produce it came to be called the Rayleigh-Bénard instability.

No comments: