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The five Platonic solids

The five Platonic solids

C037/1693

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Credit

DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY 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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