This open-source project is a simulation of mutually repulsive particles confined to the surface of a sphere. The particles try to get as far apart as possible, but they must always remain on the sphere. Eventually they settle down into some stable configuration. The simulation draws matching lines between groups of particles when they settle down into matching distances.
The pattern formed when the particles settle down is based on the total number of particles. You can change the the number of particles by editing the "Particle Count" box below and pressing Enter. You may choose any number from to .
This mathematical construct is called the Thomson problem. It arises from pre-quantum theories of subatomic structure dating from the early 20th century. Although the Thomson problem no longer has any relevance to particle physics, it remains interesting from a purely mathematical point of view. Numerical simulations like this one can approximate the solution, but it is not known if there is a general formula to express the patterns that are formed.
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