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The Number Three

  1. Nov 29, 2005 #1
    Hey guys, I have a question..

    In my humanities class, my teacher asked us to write an essay on 'How can we prove if god exists or not'. Dont worry, my question doesnt reflect my essay..

    He showed the class how many things in nature are related to the number three.. One intresting one that the class seemed to enjoy was how Bubbles, yes, bubbles, all seem to connect to one another in threes. Is there a scientific reason to why a bubble connects to another bubble in threes?

    He also explained how the value of ln is found in a nautilus, which is indeed correct.. He also said something about the value of e (2.71) is found in nature, and in the human body.. Does anyone know what he is talking about?


    Does he have a point about the number 3? the value of ln and e?
    Thanks a lot


    Here are some images of what im talking about:

    http://pharyngula.org/images/bubbles-ommatidia.jpg
    http://www.susqu.edu/facstaff/b/brakke/evolver/examples/3/3-inner8.gif
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 29, 2005 #2

    Danger

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    Three spheres are the most that can be in simultaneous contact. I assume that this holds for the 'blended' spheres that bubbles become when joined. The sphere is the most space-effective shape, so the bubbles aren't likely to expend the energy necessary to take on a topography that would allow for more in the bunch.
     
  4. Nov 29, 2005 #3
    Of course he has a point about the number 3. you'll find that number a lot in nature. Nature really loves 2s also day and night, two eyes, two legs, an egg has two sides. Oh and nature loves 4s there are 4 seasons, 4 states of matter, 4 paws on a dog, 4 pts of the compass Oh and nature loves 1s one mouth, one moon, one direction of time. Oh and nature loves 4098 4098 species of biting insects, 4098 needles on a christmas tree's top branch oh and nature loves.....
    there are plenty of examples for any number you can think of, actually I think nature hates the number 3. There are only 2 sexes not 3, No species of animal has 3 arms, there are more than 3 elements on the periodic table, Even numbers are never 3.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2005
  5. Nov 29, 2005 #4

    Alkatran

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    Really? I find that hard to believe.

    For example, let's see we have three spheres in contact. They form a triangle of sorts, and each sphere has it's center on a plane. Knowing this, I take a sphere placed directly in the center and above the three and lower it down until it just touches one of them: and therefore all of them since it's equidistant from each.

    What's wrong with that?
     
  6. Nov 29, 2005 #5
    NASA hates ants so they gave them three eyes.
    It's the truth.
    They also hate people who make odd claims about the pineal gland.
     
  7. Nov 29, 2005 #6

    Moonbear

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    The image in panel g would appear to refute the point very clearly. There are 4 bubbles connected there. That's also only a 2-dimensional cluster of bubbles. If you imagined some in front of and behind it, you'd have a much larger cluster. Dump some dish detergent into a dishpan and fill it up with the water turned on to maximum flow...see all those suds? Those are bubbles. And there are more than 3 all stuck together.

    Also, when it comes to things like the Nautilus and those claims of finding whatever number someone fancies in the human body, you should insert the word "approximately" in front of it. http://www.nexusjournal.com/Sharp_v4n1-pt04.html
     
  8. Nov 29, 2005 #7
    I've never noticed anything unusual about bubbles, I've seen them in threes and fours and twos and ones. Same with the number of chambers in a peanut...thing.

    I'm probably the only one here who cares enough to really push for this reasearch. I've been researching for the past three hours, the only way a good scientist can: I called a psychic hotline.

    But seriously, if there's one thing here that does seem to hold some water, it's that people who want to philosophize about science and god almost always take scientific principles out of context, or just plain accept any cliam they hear.

    Yes e is found in nature. Every number is found in nature, it's simply a matter of how to observe nature itself.
     
  9. Nov 29, 2005 #8
    3 is the most you can have with every sphere touching all the other spheres.
     
  10. Nov 29, 2005 #9
    No. Imagine forming a triangle with three billiards balls, then balancing a ball on top smack dab in the middle.
     
  11. Nov 29, 2005 #10

    The thing about e, its just a convenient number. You could use any positive number except for one for the basis of exponential decay or growth (using different formulas for the power,). But e is mathematically significant in a number of ways, so it makes more sense to use e rather than say 1.5 or 3.
     
  12. Nov 29, 2005 #11

    Pengwuino

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    I thought e was significant because it had something to do with it being its own derivative in a sense...
     
  13. Nov 29, 2005 #12
    Yes, it is it's own nth derivative and nth anti-derivative, if I remember correctly.
     
  14. Nov 29, 2005 #13

    Pengwuino

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    Yah so it seems like you couldn't use 1.5 or 2 or anything like that...
     
  15. Nov 29, 2005 #14

    Exactly, it has huge mathematical significance, and shows up repeatedly in a variety of places. But physically speaking, its not all that special, just another number. Its the mathematical significance that makes it so useful for describing nature. But other numbers could be used in its place, just with more mathematical difficulty.
     
  16. Nov 29, 2005 #15

    Moonbear

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    Yep, just look at the top two layers in this illustration:
    http://www.math.pitt.edu/articles/cannonOverview.html

    (This is an interesting page for it's own sake too...a mathematician has solved the problem of the most efficient way to stack oranges...:rofl:...or at least that's how it's been publicized.)
     
  17. Nov 30, 2005 #16

    Alkatran

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    I asked what was wrong with it, not for are bold assertion.

    Here, I even have 4 unit spheres that all touch, with centers:
    { (0, 0, 0), (2, 0, 0), (1, sqr(3), 0), (1, sqr(1/3), sqr(8/3)) }
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2005
  18. Dec 1, 2005 #17

    Danger

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    Cripes! I was thinking in 2D! :redface:
     
  19. Dec 1, 2005 #18
    Actually, I think if you allow differing sizes you can get 4 circles to touch in 2-d (I just did it in paint, three identical circles touching and one smaller one in the middle), maybe you meant identical circles. Is four the limit? This is quite interesting, reminds me of the four colors problem.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2005
  20. Dec 1, 2005 #19
    If the circles can be any size, you can have an infinite amount touching. I'm hoping the original poster pops in and gives us an update on how his class turned out when they went over this.
     
  21. Dec 1, 2005 #20

    Alkatran

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    Can you give an example of 5 touching?

    I think the maximum is 4. Given four circles touching (in a triangle with one on the inside) you can't even draw continuous line that touches all of them without passing through the intersection points of the circle, which would imply the circle would have to be on top of the other circles.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2005
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