General Science, Mathematics, and Technology


What are the Platonic solids?

The Platonic solids are the five regular polyhedra: the four-sided tetrahedron, the six-sided cube or hexahedron, the eight-sided octahedron, the twelve-sided dodecahedron, and the twenty-sided icosahedron. Although they had been studied as long ago as the time of Pythagorus (around 500 B.C.E.), they are called the Platonic solids because they were first described in detail by Plato (427–347B.C.E.) around 400B.C.E. The ancient Greeks gave mystical significance to the Platonic solids: the tetrahedron represented fire, the icosahedron represented water, the stable cube represented the earth, the octahedron represented the air. The twelve faces of the dodecahedron corresponded to the twelve signs of the zodiac, and this figure represented the entire universe.


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