What is a helix?

Alexander Smaznev
Alexander Smaznev
February 5, 2015
What is a helix?

When we hear the word "spiral", we all understand in general terms what we are talking about. Spirals firmly entered our lives. For example, the so-called one of the varieties of contraceptives is called (there is a special article about them Which spirals are better). There is a common expression: "Everything develops in a spiral." What is a spiral?

Below is the definition of the word helix and some examples of helixes.

Helix definition

The spiral is a spiral curve that goes around the center of reference or axis, gradually moving away from them or approaching them. The easiest way to see the real spiral in everyday life is to look at the side of the carpet, twisted into a roll.

Spirals are two-dimensional and three-dimensional. The two-dimensional spiral is a curve, all the turns of which lie on the same plane. In a three-dimensional spiral, each turn is located higher or lower than the previous one.

There are several types of spirals, the laws of construction of which are described by various mathematical formulas (Archimedean spiral, logarithmic spiral, Fermat spiral,Fibonacci helix, golden helix).

Spirals in nature

However, the spiral is not a product of the human mind. In the world around us, many examples of spirals that arose naturally long before the appearance of man.

Snail shells and horns of some species of artiodactyls have the shape of a spiral. Spiral moves the air in cyclones. The galaxy in which our solar system is located (it is called the Milky Way) has a spiral shape. The double helix has DNA molecules that carry all the genetic information in any living organism.