## Mathematical Monday 11/8/10

When I was a kid I read The Phantom Tollbooth. Ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with dodecahedrons because that’s about the coolest name ever. That’s a twelve-sided, three dimensional figure like this.

Isn’t that a great picture by Mag3737

Here are a few more favorite geometric shapes.

Buckminster Fullerene or Buckyball
60 Carbon molecule in the shape we now use for a soccer ball!.

Icosahedron
This, of course, is the geek’s favorite, the 20-sided die! It’s also the head of some bacteriophages, like T4.

Rhombus
Who doesn’t love a rhombus? Who knows what a rhombus is?

A rhombus, by the way, is four equal sides, no specifications about the angles.

Finally, here’s a fun page to tell you the names of any polygon up to 100 sides that you want to name. I’m quite fond of Heptacontakaitetragon.

Do you have a favorite geometric shape?Mathematical Monday

1. Great post! Did you ever watch Square One as a kid? What a great show. Even almost 20 years later, I still distinctly remember lessons learned from it, including two of the things listed above.

I remember a short segment where they had a camera guy walk around a random city street and ask them if they knew what a rhombus was. A number of people made completely random and creative guesses at first, but then they found a guy who described it as a square that looks like someone stepped on it (which they drew on the screen so we could see what he was talking about). Years later, of course, I learned that the rhombus category actually includes squares themselves, but still, it’s not a bad definition for an elementary school kid.

Second, there was a Matnet series featuring a woman who had a bracelet with a large dodecahedron pendant that was a valuable family heirloom (which she actually ended up framing one of the members of the Mathnet team for stealing). Never forgot dodecahedron.

It’s funny what you mentioned about the icosahedron, because my boyfriend (who studies viruses) and I saw something random in the shape of an icosahedron, and his reaction was to say “Hey, it’s a T4 virus!” and I said, “Hey, it’s a d20!” We’re each geeks in our own ways 🙂

• I totally watched Square One! It was awesome. I don’t remember the rhombus one, but that’s great! I love the T4-D20 conversation, hehe! I am a microbiologist and a gamer, so I see both!

Rosalind

2. Oooh, I love the Phantom Tollbooth! I just reread it last summer.

Personally I love the Rhombus, but I’ll always remember it by the Spanish name – rombo. It always sounded better to me. Probably the only thing I really remember from elementary school spanish.

And dodecahedrons will always kick butt because their name sounds awesome.

• I just bought a used Phantom Tollbooth not that long ago, but I still need to reread it!

Rosalind