Here’s a wooden creation by Thomas Fernique, CNRS researcher at LIPN Lab. Small cubes are stacked in a large cube so that each stack is at least as high as those to its right and in front of it. In mathematics, this is called a plane partition.
The number of different configurations is gigantic, but the shape of a random one always seems about the same: chaotic inside a kind of circle and as “frozen” outside this circle.
In 1998, H. Cohn, M. Larsen and M. Propp proved that when the ratio of the sides of the large and small cubes grows, the border of the “frozen” zone tends towards a perfect circle: this is known as the “Arctic circle theorem.”