I’ve been using Zometools, available at http://www.zometool.com, to build interesting geometrical shapes since long before I started this blog. I recently found this: a 2011 photograph of myself, holding a twisting Zome torus. While I don’t remember who was holding the camera, I do remember that the torus is made of adjacent parallelopipeds.
After building this torus, I imagined it as an accretion disk surrounding a neutron star — and now I am imagining it as a neutron star on the verge of gaining enough mass, from the accretion disk, to become a black hole. Such an object would emit intense jets of high-energy radiation in opposite directions, along the rotational axis of this neutron star. These jets of radiation are perpendicular to the plane in which the rotation takes place, and these two opposite directions are made visible in this manner, below, as two dodecahedra pointing out, on opposite sides of the torus — at least if my model is held at just the right angle, relative to the direction the camera is pointing, as shown below, to create an illusion of perpendicularity. The two photographs were taken on the same day.
In reality, of course, these jets of radiation would be much narrower than this photograph suggests, and the accretion disk would be flatter and wider. When one of the radiation jets from such neutron stars just happens to periodically point at us, often at thousands of times per second, we call such rapidly-rotating objects pulsars. Fortunately for us, there are no pulsars near Earth.
It would take an extremely long time for a black hole to form, from a neutron star, in this manner. This is because most of the incoming mass and energy (mostly mass, from the accretion disk) leaves this thermodynamic system as outgoing mass and energy (mostly energy, in the radiation jets), mass and energy being equivalent via the most famous formula in all of science: E = mc².
After I published the last post, which I did not originally intend to have two parts, this comment was left by one of my blog’s followers. My answer is also shown.
A torus can be viewed as a flexible rectangle rolled into a donut shape, and I had used 24 small rectangles by 24 small rectangles as the settings for Stella 4 for the torus, and its dual, in the last post — which, due to the nature of that program, are actually rendered as toroidal polyhedra. To investigate my new question, I increased 24×24 to 90×90, and these three images show the results. The first shows a 90×90 torus, the second shows its dual, and the third shows the compound of the two.
When I compare these images to those in the previous post, it is clear that these figures are approaching a limit as n, in the expression “nxn rectangle,” increases. What’s more, I recognize the dual now, of the true torus, at the limit, as n approaches infinity — it’s a cone. It’s not a finite-volume cone, but the infinite-volume cone one obtains by rotating a line around an axis which intersects that line. This figure, not a finite-volume cone, is the cone used to define the conic sections: the circle, ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola.
What’s more, I smell calculus afoot here. I do not yet know enough calculus.
“Learn a lot more about calculus” is definitely on my agenda for the coming Summer, for several reasons, not the least of which is that I plainly need it to make more headway in my understanding of geometry.
[Note: Stella 4d, the program used to make these images, may be found at http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php.]
The torus is a familiar figure to many, so I chose a quick rotational period (5 seconds) for it. The dual of a torus — and I don’t know what else to call it — is not as familiar, so, for it, I extended the rotational period to 12 seconds.
By viewing the compound of the torus and its dual, one can see the the dual is the larger of the two, by far:
I used Stella 4d to make these images. It’s a program you can buy, or try for free, at this website: http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php.
Software credit: I used Stella 4d to make this, which is available at http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php.