Monday, June 25, 2007

Crystal Challenge

If you coated a tennis ball with glue, how many other tennis balls can you attach directly to this sticky surface?


  1. It depends on which form of sphere packing is used. I think the maximum number is 16, although there are numerous ways of packing tightly that would involve fewer balls.

  2. I thought the maximum would be 12, but I'm not a crystal expert.

    Place the sticky ball onto three tennis balls, like a pyramid. Place six balls around the center. Then place three more on the top.

  3. Mike I think it might be possible actually to get 5 around the base, then the row of 6, and 5 on top. but i'm not sure either.

  4. Shouldn't you know the answer?

  5. Aside from gluing up a tennis ball, you mean?

    No, I don't always have the best answer to these questions. Sometimes andy (or someone else) has a better answer than I do.

    In this case, I thought 12 was the best answer. But I can't disprove 16.


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