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A proof that there are only five platonic solids

A platonic solid is created by combining regular polygons. Consider a platonic solid made out of n-sided polygons. At a vertex p of these meet together. The internal angle of an n-sided regular polygon is given by

At a vertex, p of these angles meet. The total angle sum is given by ( )

The total angle sum at a vertex must be less than 360, otherwise it would not be a vertex, so ( )

Multiplying by n, dividing by 180 and rearranging gives

Now the smallest number of sides for a polygon is 3 (triangle) so

For a vertex to be created when polygons meet there must be at least three polygons, so

We now have a system of inequalities to solve. Plotting these gives,

We are looking for integer solutions in the dark blue region. There are exactly 5 such solutions see red dots. n 3 3 3 4 5 p 3 4 5 3 3 Name of shape Tetrahedron Octahedron Icosahedron Cube Dodecahedron

Note that there are 3 integer solutions which sit on the line

They are n 3 4 6 p 6 4 3

These represent the three arrangements of regular polygons that tessellate the plane.