Math is Everywhere, All at Once

Galaxies and Patterns

Christina Sng for Maths@Singapore

Math has always been there, even before we existed.

In the words of Science Alert’s Clare Watson, “it underpins the fundamental laws of the physical universe.”

It certainly isn’t something we created. Philosopher Sam Baron of the Australian Catholic University agrees. He believes that “the Universe was made of mathematics.”

Mathematical patterns appear abundantly in nature.

“We spent many hours frantically dismantling [cauliflower] florets, counting them, measuring angles between them,” University of Nottingham mathematician Etienne Farcot says.

Fractals are one of my favorite things in the world. I even made up a fractal song for my son when he was little!

Fractals are “geometrical shapes made up of smaller and smaller copies of themselves, creating a mesmerizing ‘self-similarity’ that is infinitely deep,” describes Watson. “Part of the charm of fractals is that they help to explain how complexity is born out of simplicity.”

These self-repeating patterns “are everywhere in nature,” says mathematician Thomas Britz of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. “In snowflakes, river networks, flowers, trees, lightning strikes – even in our blood vessels.”

Meanwhile, the theory called the ‘honeycomb conjecture’ was finally proven by American mathematician Thomas Hales in 1999. This was based on how “bees build hexagonal honeycomb in a way that produces the most storage space using the least materials.”

No post about math in nature would be complete without the Fibonacci numbers, “where each number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two.”

Fibonacci numbers found everywhere in nature, from the way plants grow leaves, stems, and petals, to pinecones and pineapples.

Finally, golden spirals are seen in spiral galaxies, rotations of hurricanes, nautilus shells, and in the arrangement of seeds in a sunflower head where they grow in a logarithmic ratio with every quarter turn.

These are but a few examples of how math is everywhere in our Universe. For more, visit

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Photo by Arnaud Mariat on Unsplash: