On Homogeneous Division of Space

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    § I. THE homogeneous division of any volume of space means the dividing of it into equal and similar parts, or cells, as I shall call them, all sameways oriented. If we take any point in the interior of one cell or on its boundary, and corresponding points of all the other cells, these points form a homogeneous assemblage of single points, according to Bravais' admirable and important definition.3 The general problem of the homogeneous partition of space may be stated thus:—Given a homogeneous assemblage of single points, it is required to find every possible form of cell enclosing each of them subject to the condition that it is of the same shape and sameways oriented for all. An interesting application of this problem is to find for a crystal (that is to say, a homogeneous assemblage of groups of chemical atoms) a homogeneous arrangement of partitional interfaces such that each cell contains all the atoms of one molecule. Unless we knew the exact geometrical configuration of the constituent parts of the group of atoms in the crystal, or crystalline molecule as we shall call it, we could not describe the partitional interfaces between one molecule and its neighbour.


    1. 1

      Journal de l'École Polytechnique, tome xix. cahier 33, pp. 1–128 (Paris, 1850), quoted and used in my "Mathematical and Physical Papers," vol. iii. art. 97, p. 400.

    2. 2

      Compare "Mathematical and Physical Papers," vol. iii. art. 97, § 5.5.

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