A 17-year-old high school student in Pakistan replicated a physics visualization, and developed results that surprised some older scientists.
In simple terms, an electric honeycomb is formed when certain kinds of electrically charged particles travel between a pointy electrode and a flat one, but in the transmission, they bump into a puddle of oil along the way.
The resultant shape of this bumpy ride is a polygonal pattern, what some physicists also call the rose-window instability because it resembles the circular, stained-glass designs found in Gothic churches. It’s what happens as natural forces work to keep an electric charge moving in an interrupted circuit.
But why is it so intriguing that a bizarre shape pops up? The mystery behind the pattern is that natural forces work to keep an electric charge moving in an interrupted circuit.