I created this using Stella 4d, which you can try for free at http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php. Starting with the Platonic dodecahedron, I dropped the symmetry of the model down from icosahedral to tetrahedral, then stellated it six times. I also put the resulting polyhedron into “rainbow color mode” before making this .gif image.
To make this polyhedron using Stella 4d (available here), I began with the dodecahedron, dropped the symmetry of the model from icosahedral to tetrahedral, and then stellated it thirteen times.
This stellated polyhedron has pyritohedral symmetry, but this is easier to see in its convex hull:
The eight blue triangles in this convex hull are equilateral, while the twelve yellow ones are golden isosceles triangles.
I made this using Stella 4d: Polyhedron Navigator. You can try this program for free at http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php.
Software credit: I used Stella 4d to make this, and you can find that program at http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php, with a free trial download available there.
Mathematicians have discovered more than one set of rules for polyhedral stellation. The software I use for rapidly manipulating polyhedra (Stella 4d, available here, including as a free trial download) lets the user choose between different sets of stellation criteria, but I generally favor what are called the “fully supported” stellation rules.
For this exercise, I still used the fully supported stellation rules, but set Stella to view these polyhedra as having only tetrahedral symmetry, rather than icosidodecahedral (or “icosahedral”) symmetry. For the icosahedron, this tetrahedral symmetry can be seen in this coloring-pattern.
The next image shows what the icosahedron looks like after a single stellation, when performed through the “lens” of tetrahedral symmetry. This stellation extends the red triangles as kites, and hides the yellow triangles from view in the process.
The second such stellation produces this polyhedron — a pyritohedral dodecahedron — by further-extending the red faces, and obscuring the blue triangles in the process.
The third tetrahedral stellation of the icosahedron produces another pyritohedral figure, which further demonstrates that pyritohedral symmetry is related to both icosidodecahedral and tetrahedral symmetry.
The fourth such stellation produces a Platonic octahedron, but one where the coloring-scheme makes it plain that Stella is still viewing this figure as having tetrahedral symmetry. Given that the octahedron itself has cuboctahedral (or “octahedral”) symmetry, this is an increase in the number of polyhedral symmetry-types which have appeared, so far, in this brief survey.
Next, I looked at the fifth tetrahedral stellation of the icosahedron, and was surprised at what I found.
While I was curious about what would happen if I continued stellating this polyhedron, I also wanted to see this fifth stellation’s convex hull, since I could already tell it would have only hexagons and triangles as faces. Here is that convex hull:
For the last step in this survey, I performed one more tetrahedral stellation, this time on the convex hull I had just produced.
Twelve of the faces of this polyhedron are pink, and the other twenty-four are blue. It has no faces which are not pentagons. I made it using Stella 4d: Polyhedron Navigator, which is avialable at http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php.
I made this compound using Stella 4d, a program which is available here: http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php.
It’s quite an informal way to define it, but pyritohedral symmetry is the symmetry-type of a standard volleyball. These images of pyritohedral polyhedra were made using Stella 4d, software available at http://software3d.com/Stella.php.
While the polyhedron above, informally known as the “soccer ball,” has icosidodecahedral symmetry, its coloring-scheme does not. Instead, I colored the faces in such a way that the coloring-scheme has pyritohedral symmetry — the symmetry of a standard volleyball. This rotating image was made with Stella 4d, a program you can buy, or try for free, right here: http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php.
The President of the Zometool Corporation, Carlos Neumann, gave me a challenge, not long ago: find a solution to the Zome Cryptocube puzzle which uses only B0s, which I call “tiny blue struts.” For the Cryptocube puzzle, though, these “blue” struts actually appear white. Carlos knows me well, and knows I cannot resist a challenge involving Zome. Here is what I came up with, before the removal of the black cube, which is what the Zome Cryptocube puzzle starts with.
In a “pure” Crypocube solution, the red Zomeballs would also be white — not just the “blue” struts. However, when Carlos issued this challenge, I was at home, with all the white Zomeballs I own located at the school where I teach — so I used red Zomeballs, instead, since I had them at home, and did not wish to wait.
Here’s what this Cryptocube solution looks like, without the black cube’s black struts. You can still “see” the black cube, though, for the black Zomeballs which are the eight corners of the black cube are still present. As is happens, this particular Cryptocube solution has pyritohedral symmetry — better known as the symmetry of a standard volleyball.
While the Cryptocube puzzle is not currently available on the Zome website, http://www.zometool.com, it should be there soon — hopefully, in time for this excellent Zome kit to be bought as a Christmas present. Once a child is old enough so that small parts present no choking hazard, that child is old enough to start playing with Zome — and it is my firm belief that such play stimulates the intellectual growth of both children and adults. As far as a maximum age where Zome is an appropriate Christmas gift, the answer to that is simple: there isn’t one.
Also: while I do openly advertise Zome, I do not get paid to do so. I do this unpaid advertising for one reason: I firmly believe that Zome is a fantastic product, especially for those interested in mathematics, or for those who wish to develop an interest in mathematics — especially geometry. Also, Zome is fun!