When Bubbles Get Comfortable

Bubbles are supposed to be round, right?
Well, not when they get packed together. Then something very special happens to the way they assemble and stabilize each other. As Robert Krulwich relays on his blog, speaking with Stanford’s Manu Prakash:
Me: But why do they form angles? Why don’t they just get squished, like balloons mushed together? 
Manu: Well, to make this extra simple…
Me: Feel free.
Manu: …If you’re a bubble, the next best thing to being round is being a trio.
Me: A what?
Manu: A trio. A group of three. Three bubbles intersecting at a common point can persist, can stay bubbles.
Me: Really?
Manu: Yup. And here’s the fascinating part. Look at this freeze frame. Do you see something strangely beautiful here?
It IS strangely beautiful. For more (and you know you want more), check out this awesome video on bubble geometries that inspired the question at hand.
(via Krulwich Wonders… and Kim Pimmel on Vimeo)

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