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Published by: IIRemmyII on Aug 07, 2010
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From Wikipedia, the freeencyclopedia
Jump to:navigation, search For the game magazine, seePolyhedron (magazine).A
) isoften defined as ageometric object with flat faces andstraight edges (the word
comes from theClassical Greek πολυεδρον,from
, stem of πολυς,"many," +
, form of εδρον, "base", "seat", or "face").This definition of a polyhedronis not very precise, and to amodern mathematician is quiteunsatisfactory. Grünbaum  (1994, p.43) observed that:
TheOriginal Sinin the theoryof polyhedra goes back to Euclid  , and through  Kepler  ,  Poinsot  ,Cauchyand many others ... [in that] at each stage ... the writers failed to define what are the 'polyhedra' ...
Modern mathematicians do not even agree as to exactly what makes something a
[edit] What is a polyhedron?
We can at least say that a polyhedron is built up from different kinds of element or entity,each associated with a different number of dimensions:
3 dimensions: The
is bounded by the faces, and is usually the volume insidethem.
2 dimensions: A
is bounded by a circuit of edges, and is usually a flat (plane)region called a
. The faces together make up the polyhedral
1 dimension: An
joins one vertex to another and one face to another, and isusually alineof some kind. The edges together make up the polyhedral
0 dimensions: A
) is a corner  point.
-1 dimension: The
is a kind of non-entity required byabstracttheories.More generally inmathematicsand other disciplines, "polyhedron" is used to refer to avariety of related constructs, some geometric and others purely algebraic or abstract.A defining characteristic of almost all kinds of polyhedra is that just two faces join alongany common edge. This ensures that the polyhedral surface is continuously connected anddoes not end abruptly or split off in different directions.A polyhedron is a 3-dimensional example of the more general  polytopein any number of  dimensions.
[edit] Characteristics
Naming polyhedra
Polyhedra are often named according to the number of faces. The naming system is again based on Classical Greek, for exampletetrahedron (4), pentahedron(5), hexahedron(6), heptahedron(7),triacontahedron(30), and so on. Often this is qualified by a description of the kinds of faces present, for example theRhombic dodecahedronvs. thePentagonal dodecahedron. Other common names indicate that some operation has been performed on a simpler  polyhedron, for example thetruncated cube looks like a cube with its corners cut off, and has 14 faces (so it is also an example of a tetrakaidecahedron).Some special polyhedra have grown their own names over the years, such as Miller'smonster or theSzilassi polyhedron.
Edges have two important characteristics (unless the polyhedron is complex):

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