Dr. Cary Oberije, a postdoctoral researcher in The Netherlands, has found that mathematical models can be used to accurately predict patients' responses to treatment. Prediction models were used to analyze lung cancer patients' likelihood of survival and...

# When Will I Use Math?

## WeUseMath.org

# Sphere Packing Problem

In 1611, after having studies how sailors stack cannonballs, Johannes Kepler began pondering over the most efficient way to pack spheres in a given space. He finally decided on the face-centred cubic, which is the same way you will find oranges stacked today.

However, Kepler could not prove that the face-centered cubic was indeed the most efficient way to pack spheres. Until recently this problem remained unsolved. After over a decade of research, testing all the possible solutions, Thomas Hales of the University of Michigan concluded that Kepler’s method, the face-centred cubic, was indeed the most efficient way to stack spheres, meaning that the amount of space occupied by the spheres is maximized in the proposed arrangement. Referees have declared they are 99 percent sure the Hale’s solution is correct.

Know how math applies to real life, a new discovery in math, a math tidbit or an unsolved math problem? Submit a "Did You Know?" entry to the site!

The most common question students ask math teachers at every level is “When will I use math?” WeUseMath.org is a non-profit website that helps to answer this question. This website describes the importance of mathematics and many rewarding career opportunities available to students who study mathematics.

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