Monday, December 29, 2014

Dodecahedron Model of PG(2,5)

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 2:28 PM

Recent posts tagged Sagan Dodecahedron 
mention an association between that Platonic
solid and the 5×5 grid. That grid, when extended
by the six points on a "line at infinity," yields
the 31 points of the finite projective plane of
order five.  

For details of how the dodecahedron serves as
a model of this projective plane (PG(2,5)), see
Polster's A Geometrical Picture Book , p. 120:

For associations of the grid with magic rather than
with Plato, see a search for 5×5 in this journal.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Platonic Analogy

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 2:23 PM

(Five by Five continued)

As the 3×3 grid underlies the order-3 finite projective plane,
whose 13 points may be modeled by
the 13 symmetry axes of the cube,
so the 5×5 grid underlies the order-5 finite projective plane,
whose 31 points may be modeled by
the 31 symmetry axes of the dodecahedron.

See posts tagged Galois-Plane Models.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pyramid Dance

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:00 AM

Oslo artist Josefine Lyche has a new Instagram post,
this time on pyramids (the monumental kind).

My response —

Wikipedia's definition of a tetrahedron as a
"triangle-based pyramid"

and remarks from a Log24 post of August 14, 2013 :

Norway dance (as interpreted by an American)

IMAGE- 'The geometry of the dance' is that of a tetrahedron, according to Peter Pesic

I prefer a different, Norwegian, interpretation of "the dance of four."

Related material:
The clash between square and tetrahedral versions of PG(3,2).

See also some of Burkard Polster's triangle-based pyramids
and a 1983 triangle-based pyramid in a paper that Polster cites —

(Click image below to enlarge.)

Some other illustrations that are particularly relevant
for Lyche, an enthusiast of magic :

From On Art and Magic (May 5, 2011) —





The Fano plane block design



The Deathly Hallows  symbol—
Two blocks short of  a design.


(Updated at about 7 PM ET on Dec. 3.)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Two Physical Models of the Fano Plane

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:23 AM

The Regular Tetrahedron

The seven symmetry axes of the regular tetrahedron
are of two types: vertex-to-face and edge-to-edge.
Take these axes as the "points" of a Fano plane.
Each of the tetrahedron's six reflection planes contains 
two vertex-to-face axes and one edge-to-edge axis.
Take these six planes as six of the "lines" of a Fano
plane. Then the seventh line is the set of three 
edge-to-edge axes.

(The Fano tetrahedron is not original with me.
See Polster's 1998 A Geometrical Picture Book pp. 16-17.)

The Cube

There are three reflection planes parallel to faces
of the cube. Take the seven nonempty subsets of
the set of these three planes as the "points" of a
Fano plane. Define the Fano "lines" as those triples
of these seven subsets in which each member of
the triple is the symmetric-difference sum of the 
other two members.

(This is the eightfold cube  discussed at finitegeometry.org.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Tetrahedral Fano-Plane Model

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:30 PM

Update of Nov. 30, 2014 —

It turns out that the following construction appears on
pages 16-17 of A Geometrical Picture Book , by 
Burkard Polster (Springer, 1998).

"Experienced mathematicians know that often the hardest
part of researching a problem is understanding precisely
what that problem says. They often follow Polya's wise
advice: 'If you can't solve a problem, then there is an
easier problem you can't solve: find it.'"

—John H. Conway, foreword to the 2004 Princeton
Science Library edition of How to Solve It , by G. Polya

For a similar but more difficult problem involving the
31-point projective plane, see yesterday's post
"Euclidean-Galois Interplay."

The above new [see update above] Fano-plane model was
suggested by some 1998 remarks of the late Stephen Eberhart.
See this morning's followup to "Euclidean-Galois Interplay" 
quoting Eberhart on the topic of how some of the smallest finite
projective planes relate to the symmetries of the five Platonic solids.

Update of Nov. 27, 2014: The seventh "line" of the tetrahedral
Fano model was redefined for greater symmetry.

Class Act

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:18 AM

Update of Nov. 30, 2014 —

For further information on the geometry in
the remarks by Eberhart below, see
pp. 16-17 of A Geometrical Picture Book ,
by Burkard Polster (Springer, 1998). Polster
cites a different article by Lemay.

A search for background to the exercise in the previous post
yields a passage from the late Stephen Eberhart:

The first three primes p = 2, 3, and 5 therefore yield finite projective planes with 7, 13, and 31 points and lines, respectively. But these are just the numbers of symmetry axes of the five regular solids, as described in Plato's Timaeus : The tetrahedron has 4 pairs of face planes and comer points + 3 pairs of opposite edges, totalling 7 axes; the cube has 3 pairs of faces + 6 pairs of edges + 4 pairs of comers, totalling 13 axes (the octahedron simply interchanges the roles of faces and comers); and the pentagon dodecahedron has 6 pairs of faces + 15 pairs of edges + 10 pairs of comers, totalling 31 axes (the icosahedron again interchanging roles of faces and comers). This is such a suggestive result, one would expect to find it dealt with in most texts on related subjects; instead, while "well known to those who well know such things" (as Richard Guy likes to quip), it is scarcely to be found in the formal literature [9]. The reason for the common numbers, it turns out, is that the groups of symmetry motions of the regular solids are subgroups of the groups of collineations of the respective finite planes, a face axis being different from an edge axis of a regular solid but all points of a projective plane being alike, so the latter has more symmetries than the former.

[9] I am aware only of a series of in-house publications by Fernand Lemay of the Laboratoire de Didactique, Faculté des Sciences de I 'Éducation, Univ. Laval, Québec, in particular those collectively titled Genèse de la géométrie  I-X.

— Stephen Eberhart, Dept. of Mathematics,
California State University, Northridge, 
"Pythagorean and Platonic Bridges between
Geometry and Algebra," in BRIDGES: Mathematical
Connections in Art, Music, and Science 
, 1998,

Eberhart died of bone cancer in 2003. A memorial by his
high school class includes an Aug. 7, 2003, transcribed
letter from Eberhart to a classmate that ends…

… I earned MA’s in math (UW, Seattle) and history (UM, Missoula) where a math/history PhD program had been announced but canceled.  So 1984 to 2002 I taught math (esp. non-Euclidean geometry) at C.S.U. Northridge.  It’s been a rich life.  I’m grateful. 

See also another informative BRIDGES paper by Eberhart
on mathematics and the seven traditional liberal arts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Euclidean-Galois Interplay

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:00 AM

For previous remarks on this topic, as it relates to
symmetry axes of the cube, see previous posts tagged Interplay.

The above posts discuss, among other things, the Galois
projective plane of order 3, with 13 points and 13 lines.

Oxley's 2004 drawing of the 13-point projective plane

These Galois points and lines may be modeled in Euclidean geometry
by the 13 symmetry axes and the 13 rotation planes
of the Euclidean cube. They may also be modeled in Galois geometry
by subsets of the 3x3x3 Galois cube (vector 3-space over GF(3)).


   The 3×3×3 Galois Cube 

Exercise: Is there any such analogy between the 31 points of the
order-5 Galois projective plane and the 31 symmetry axes of the
Euclidean dodecahedron and icosahedron? Also, how may the
31 projective points  be naturally pictured as lines  within the 
5x5x5 Galois cube (vector 3-space over GF(5))?

Update of Nov. 30, 2014 —

For background to the above exercise, see
pp. 16-17 of A Geometrical Picture Book ,
by Burkard Polster (Springer, 1998), esp.
the citation to a 1983 article by Lemay.

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