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Letter 2195

Darwin, E. A. to Darwin, C. R.

[May–June 1858]

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    Calculations relating to bees' cells.


Dear Charles.

The obtuse ∠ of the Dodec, placed with its axis vertical call its highth above the horizontal plane (h) h side of hexagon of bees cell 1.414 h 0inch125 1.414 0.088 [DIAGRAM HERE] center of Dodec h

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    f1 2195.f1
    It has not been possible to date the letter more precisely: in May 1858 CD reported that he had ‘settled’ his theory of the construction of bees' cells (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 [May 1858]); but in June he was still investigating the geometry of cells (see letter to W. E. Darwin, [26 May 1858], and letters from E. A. Darwin, [before 8 June 1858], [8 June 1858], [after 8 June 1858], and [19 June 1858]).
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    This letter and subsequent letters on the problem show that CD was seeking to confirm that the geometry of hive-bees' cells, which may be regarded as hexagonal prisms with pyramidal bases comprising three rhombic plates or as stretched rhombic dodecahedrons, could naturally arise from the compression and extension of spheres arranged in a honeycomb pattern. See also letter to W. H. Miller, [15 April 1858].
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