The Benzel Tilings Site

Benzels are regions in the hexagonal grid that are analogous to Aztec diamonds in the square grid vis-a-vis the theory of tilings. Here is an example of a benzel that has been tiled by trihexes (unions of three adjacent hexagonal cells):

The (9,9)-benzel tiled by stones and bones and 
the associated trimer cover of the (9,9)-benzel graph

(The picture has been superimposed with its graph theoretic dual in which cells become vertices and tiles become collections of edges connecting nearby vertices.)

I gave my first talk on benzels online on November 29, 2021 as part of the CAP21 (Combinatorics and Arithmetic for Physics) workshop sponsored by IHES. (I had only two hours to throw the talk together, so please forgive the lack of slides!) The talk was called "Conjectural Enumerations of Trimer Covers of Finite Subgraphs of the Triangular Lattice" and the video is available on YouTube.

In 2022 I gave several talks about trihex tilings of benzels:

In addition, the following writeups are available:

Regarding the twenty open problems mentioned in "Trimer covers in the triangular grid", there has been progress on about half of them as of January 2024. In particular:

Here "DLPY" refers to the published article by Colin Defant, Rupert Li, James Propp, and Benjamin Young, while "DFLPY" refers to the preprint by Colin Defant, Leigh Foster, Rupert Li, James Propp, and Benjamin Young.

I coined the term "benzel" in 2021 in honor of the chemical element benzene (whose hexagonal structure reflects the hexagonal cells of which benzels are composed), the Mercedes-Benz car company (whose logo is reminiscent of the way three hexagonal cells meet), the inventor Gustav Benzel (whose 1870 innovation, the merry-go-round, undergoes rotation in a manner vaguely reminiscent of the three-fold rotational symmetry of benzels), and author Carl Sagan (whose novel Contact introduced the word "benzel" as the name of a spinning gadget of extraterrestrial design).

This page was last modified January 9, 2024 by James Propp,