The five Platonic solids

The five Platonic solids

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Credit: DIRK WIERSMA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: To Plato is accredited the concept of "the five solid bodies", although the postulation of their existence is credited by some to Pythagoras and by others to Theaetetus, a contemporary of Plato. The respective polyhedrons each have their symbolic connotation: the tetrahedron (fire), the cube (earth), the octahedron (air), the icosahedron (water) and finally the dodecahedron (as a delineator of the entire universe). These five solid bodies, incidentally, are the five only regular polyhedrons that can exist; that means having equal sides, equal regular faces and equal angles, all inscribable in a sphere.

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Keywords: air, bodies, cube, dodecahedron, earth, fire, five, icosahedron, octahedron, plato, polyhedron, polyhedrons, postulation, pythagoras, regular, symbolic, symbols, tetrahedron, theaetetus

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