What do soccer and bees have to do with one another? I've been watching a lot of soccer lately (along with the rest of the world) and asked myself why the goal nets at the World Cup are hexagon shaped? Have you ever noticed that most nets at your local soccer field are made up of squares and not hexagons? 

 

This hexagon-shaped netting was first used at the 2002 World Cup. In the past, the goal nets had a square-shaped mesh. But bees know best. Bees always choose the hexagon shape when building their honey comb. But why?

"It is a mathematical truth," physicist/writer Alan Lightman writes, "that there are only three geometrical figures with equal sides that can fit together on a flat surface without leaving gaps: equilateral triangles, squares and hexagons." So why hexagons? Bees don't want to waste their valuable and expensive wax. A bee must consume about eight ounces of honey to produce a single ounce of wax. In 1999, a mathematician at the University of Michigan, Thomas Hales, produced a mathematical proof that proved that a hexagonal structure is more compact. Thus, the bees need less wax. Charles Darwin himself once wrote, “[The honeycomb is] absolutely perfect in economizing labor and wax.

 

So now back to the soccer goals at the World Cup and their hexagon shaped netting. The hexagon mesh is stronger and absorbs the shock of the ball much better than square-shaped mesh. This gives the illusion that the ball stops for a moment. And depending on who you're cheering for, your heart too.

My adopted country of Germany made it to the quarter-finals. Now we just have to get my home country of the USA there as well. Who are you cheering for?