Six is the number of sides on a hexagon, and hexagonal symmetry is one of the most wintry symmetries – due to the bond angle of water when frozen into ice, all snowflakes (with some minor exceptions) have hexagonal symmetry.
This is such a well-established fact that stand-up mathematician Matt Parker has been known to get quite annoyed about people using 5-sided or 8-sided snowflakes – check the #snowfake hashtag for Matt, and other people, getting annoyed about it (I claim first blood for 2018).
Started already. So close! #snowfake pic.twitter.com/WeJ1P8QyOG
— Katie Steckles (@stecks) November 15, 2018
If you’d like to create some beautiful (and more importantly, mathematically accurate) snowflakes, Think Maths have put together some resources around making paper snowflakes, including some folding-and-cutting challenges, and some nice ways to fold a 60 degree angle.
Share your hexagonal contributions with @Aperiodical and @ThinkMaths on Twitter, and your egregious non-hexagonal spots using the #snowfake hashtag.
This post is part of the Aperiodical’s 2018 Aperiodvent Calendar.