A Hybrid Polyhedron: The “Offspring” of Jessen’s Icosahedron and the Great Dodecahedron

I stumbled upon this interesting hybrid of two well-known polyhedra, while simply playing around with Stella 4d, the software I use to make these rotating polyhedral images (you can try a free trial download of it here).

Jessens icosa meets the great dodeca

The faces of the above polyhedron are twelve modified regular pentagons, each with a triangular piece removed which contained one of the pentagon’s edges. Therefore, it would also be correct to refer to these modified pentagons as non-convex hexagons. These modified pentagons interpenetrate, so all that can be seen are triangular “facelets” — the parts of the faces which are not hidden inside the polyhedron. Each of these facelets is a golden gnomon (an obtuse, isosceles triangle with a base:leg ratio which is the golden ratio), and these golden gnomons come in two sizes. The larger ones were “inherited” from Jessen’s icosahedron, and there are twelve of them. The smaller golden gnomons, on the other hand, were “inherited” from the great dodecahedron, and are twenty-four in number, in eight sets of three. Like Jessen’s icosahedron itself, but unlike the great dodecahedron, this hybrid has pyritohedral symmetry.

For more information about Jessen’s icosahedron, please visit this site at Wolfram Mathworld. Also, here is an image of Jessen’s icosahedron, one of the two “parents” of the hybrid above.

Jessens Icosa

While Jessen’s icosahedron is a relatively new discovery (Børge Jessen revealed it to the world in 1967), the hybrid’s other “parent,” the great dodecahedron, has been known for much longer; Louis Poinsot discovered it in 1809, according to this source. Here’s an image of the great dodecahedron.

Great Dodeca

As you can see, the smaller golden gnomons found in the hybrid above were “inherited” from the great dodecahedron, while the larger ones came from the six indented face-pairs found in Jessen’s icosahedron.

A well-known property of Jessen’s icosahedron is that it is “shaky,” unlike most polyhedra, which are rigid. A physical model of Jessen’s icosahedron, made from paper and tape, can, in fact, be collapsed to form an octahedron. While I suspect that a physical, paper-and-tape model of this newly-discovered hybrid polyhedron would share these properties (“shakiness,” and at least some degree of collapsibility), I have not (yet) tested this conjecture.

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