Posts Tagged ‘polygon’

Hoorah for the Hexadecagon!

May 29, 2008

There was a Hexadecagon in the New York Times Wednesday, in an article about glassblowing. First the article talked about people blowing glass at the Corning Museum GlassLab:

Except the glassblowers weren’t from 1955. Then the article explored the creation of glass designs, including knit glass (!!!) and New York City inspired pretzels. And, as promised in the title, there was also a hexadecagon. It looked a little like this

Except in wasn’t in Las Vegas. And it had 16 sides.

With that inspiration, I looked up hexadecagon to see what I could learn about it. I found that a hexadecagon is also known as a hexakaidecagon, and can be constructed with a straightedge and compass. And I found that origami madness made a neat origami design with four hexadecagons:

Photo by origami madness. Some rights reserved.

Here it is unfolded:

Photo by origami madness. Some rights reserved.

And oschene made some Fujimoto cubes with hexadecagonal irises (irides?)

Photo by oschene. Some rights reserved.

Photo by oschene. Some rights reserved.

And finally, the Imperial Seal of Japan (Crest of Chrysanthemum) isn’t quite a polygon, but if it were then it would be a hexadecagon.

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike

Decagon Mug

May 9, 2008

TwoPi and I went out for lunch to the Cheesecake Factory the other day, and noticed partway through that the mugs were regular decagons! So he snuck a photo while pretending to check text messages.

Is it hard to see? Here’s the outline on top:

Cool, isn’t it? I’m not sure what the most common shape would be, especially since our own glasses are all circles (though I noticed our department chair has octagon glasses). If anyone else has any neat polygonal glasses, send me a photo* and I’ll post them here. I love finding real life polygons!

* hlewis5 following by the @ sign and then after that @ sign put

Hexagons in Nature: The Giant’s Causeway

April 10, 2008

The Giant’s Causeway (Clochán na bhFómharach: the little stone pile of the Fomorians) off of northeast coast of Northern Ireland was formed many years ago by the giant Finn MacCool, as explained here. An alternate theory has it being formed sixty million years ago by lava cooling quickly (possibly by coming into contact with water) after a volcanic explosion. We may never know for sure which of those stories is true, but what is true is that a lot of the basalt rocks formed into hexagonal columns.

Photo by code poet; licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0

I’d heard of these rocks before, but encountered them again in a photo by Lyn Miller under Found Math on MAA Online. Her photo was taken at Devils Postpile National Monument in California near Yosemite, which also has an impressive array of columns that average two feet in diameter.

Photo by Daniel Mayer; licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 1.0

Finally, if you google “hexagon lava” you find posts like this. It gives Lava Lamp a whole new meaning.

Real life nonagons: Bahá’í Houses of Worship

April 8, 2008

The Bahá’í Faith was founded about 150 years ago by Bahá’u’lláh and has followers from all over the world. According to Bahá’í International Community,

the Bahá’í Faith brings new social principles appropriate to the needs of a global society, such as the oneness of mankind, the equality of rights and opportunities for men and women, the abolition of all forms of prejudice, the essential harmony of science and religion, universal education, the need for a universal auxiliary language, and the elimination of extremes of poverty and wealth.

From a mathematical point of view, an interesting fact about the Bahá’í Faith is that all Houses of Worship must have nine sides. There are currently seven temples in the world (plus another that had to be demolished and yet another being built), and while they each have a unique design, they all exhibit this nonagon structure. Click here to see photographs of the temples and satellite pictures showing their nine-sided shapes!