Swallowtail on the shore
Snapshots of modern mathematics from Oberwolfach
Platonic solids, Felix Klein, H. S. M. Coxeter and a flap of a swallowtail: The five Platonic solids tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, icosahedron and dodecahedron have always attracted much curiosity from mathematicians, not only for their sheer beauty but also because of their many symmetry properties. In this snapshot we will start from these symmetries, move on to groups, singularities, and finally find the connection between a tetrahedron and a “swallowtail”. Our running example is the tetrahedron, but every construction can be carried out with any other of the Platonic solids.
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