Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The Bee is Wiser than they thought....
Scientists have discovered so much by the help of the fantastic computers through the last years, but they have also found out that the little busy bee can be both faster and smarter than any computer. The small-brained bees have solved a mathematic problem, which might keep modern computers working for days and days.
Two scientists from two London universities have found out that bees learn to fly the shortest possible distance between the flowers, dependent on the order, in which they have discovered the flowers. In other words; the bees have solved the classic mathematic problem "The Travelling Salesman".
The challenge about this "travelling salesman" has been formulated and solved by a clever Irish mathematician, Sir William Rowan Hamilton, and it deals with the problem of a salesman, who has to visit several cities once via the shortest possible route.
Computers can solve this by comparing the lenghts of all possible routes and then choose the shortest. The bees solve this as the first animals without any help from a computer. A scientist from The School of Biological Science explains that foraging bees solve this complex mathematical problem each day. They visit numbers of flowers each day - and since they need large energy ressources to keep on flying, they must find a route, which makes the flying trip as short as possible. And they know how........
Source: Danmarks Naturfredningsforening, "Natur og Miljø", nr. 4, 2010, News.
photos Svinkløv:grethe bachmann