The Significance of the Hexagon

Peter Koh
Resident Dreamer @Human Managed
September 10, 2020

At its core, we all know what a hexagon is - a polygon that has 6 sides. But there's far more beneath the surface, overlapping various fields and disciplines. But we all knew that already right?

What's more interesting however, are its inherent properties and what makes it so unique and common in nature.

And also, why it represents HM well too.

Mathematically and mechanically superior

Mathematically, the hexagon has 6 sides - what makes this particular shape so interesting is that the hexagonal shape best fills a plane with equal size units and leaves no wasted space.

Hexagonal packing also minimises the perimeter for a given area because of its 120-degree angles.

With this structure, the pull of surface tension in each direction is most mechanically stable, which explains how bee honeycombs are hexagonal -  bees make their honey combs with circular units, but thanks to this surface tension, the end result when the wax hardens into place is hexagonal.

Naturally Occurring

Running on the basis of mathematical superiority, this also flows into the realm of mechanical engineering - there's a ton of real-world objects with naturally recurring hexagonal shapes.

For example, the common snowflake patterns, bee honeycombs and more interestingly, the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

The Hexagonal Basalt columns of the Giant's Causeway.It's likely the rationale for the fracturing of massive basalt flows from lava into hexagonal patterns is due to the inherent stability of the shape itself, though other shapes also exist in the Causeway, but far less common than the hexagonal patterning.

Man-made Hexagonal shapes

As more information was discovered about the unique properties of the hexagonal shape, humanity wasted no time in putting it to use.

One of the more famous modern use of the hexagonal patterns is the James Webb Space Telescope, designed and produced to replace the famous-but-aging Hubble Space Telescope.

The original pattern of the Hubble Telescope was circular - a design that was created prior to the years of intensive research into the hexagonal pattern (the Hubble mirror assembly was completed in 1981).

Then, a man named Thomas Hales proved an ancient mathematical concept (dated back to as early as 36 BC!) on the structure of the hexagon, known as the Honeycomb Conjecture.

The Honeycomb Conjecture postulates that the unique shape of the hexagon allows for the largest surface area  with the least perimeter, thus maximising the area-to-perimeter ratio, and saving space in the process

Thanks to that, the engineers at NASA and other agencies with interests in the Space Program were able to design a brand new telescope and focusing lens that far surpasses the venerable Hubble Telescope, a massive 6.25x increase in surface area!

(This means that any image taken with the new James Webb Telescope will be far higher in resolution)

The James Webb TelescopeThe telescope was meant to be launched some time in the mid 2010s, but cost overruns and other delays (such as the Coronavirus) forced the telescope to remain on Earth.


A naturally occurring symbol, off-planet

Perhaps the biggest symbol of the hexagon can be found on the planet Jupiter.

That's right - it doesn't just occur on Earth fauna and flora, it occurs extraterrestrially as well.

In 1981, a massive hexagonal shape was discovered on the north pole of Saturn. The exact reason is unknown, and the labs here on Earth are unable to recreate it exactly with the hypotheses formulated.

Saturn's HexagonTill today, no one is sure how it's formed, and why.

More recently in 2019, the Juno space probe uncovered something even more startling - Jupiter has also formed a hexagonal structure on it's south pole, but this time it's cause is due to 6 separate storms that combined to form a superstorm.

These are not small - the central cell is the size of the USA. But ultimately, it seems that the outer 6 storms have perfectly balanced and cancelled each other out, form a very stable hexagonal shape.

Jupiter's hexagonThe centre storm is the size of USA.

Apparently, size doesn't matter

As it turns out, humanity in it's quest for a better future, has also managed to shrink the idea of the hexagon down into nanometer-lengths too.

Enter the carbon nanotube, and other nanotube-derived nanomaterials.

The Carbon NanotubeQuite possibly one of Mankind's greatest discoveries.

Simply put, carbon nanotubes are hexagonal structure, wrapped around into the shape of a tube.

However, it's not merely a tube - it's perhaps one of the most unique man-made materials: boasting the strongest tensile strength material known to man, as well as being electrically conducive (which should not be the case, since it's not metal, or made of any electrically conductive material).

But the exact science isn't gonna be covered, or everyone will just be bored to sleep here.

Human Managed usage of the hexagon

At this point, you're probably wondering - why am I telling you these interesting, but ultimately useless facts about the hexagonal structure?

Simple - because HM uses it too.

the HM HexagonWhy the symbolisms of the hexagon is something that represents us, and how we can manipulate it.

If you've read the above facts, it's been building up to a single point - that HM is able to scale our operations to any size, and to any business needs.

The beauty of it is that we can service ANY business in the world, and can scale our size proportionately, without losing any of our capabilities.

But the true power of the HM hexagon is in our services - each hexagon is piece of our service.

We then simply connect multiple services together, forming a massive, interlocking object around our core businesses and customers, merging into a massive collective intelligence.

Data lake? Not that small.

Cloud? Not quite as discrete.

We become a buckyball.

Future developments

Where multiple services are connected, and business intelligence is shared across the entire surface.

But wait, that's only on the surface.

What if we merge the power of human thinking with machine learning?

Post-human thinking.the future is now, old man.

A completely new picture of how things are run, and how we can leverage collective intelligences across different buckyballs.

That's where we'll eventually be, but for now, we'll settle with one hexagon, and build from there.

My point here is simple.

The future is ours to create, and we can become the powerhouse that drives sweeping changes across the industries, because we're hexagonal - we are everywhere.