What is a buckyball? Part 3: Fullerenes

In the previous post we saw how we could project polyhedra into the plane, and use some simple properties about planar graphs to classify all the possible Platonic solids. In this post we’ll finally get to the buckyball, by considering a less restrictive class of polyhedra: the fullerenes. The Platonic solids were extremely regular: every …

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What is a Buckyball? Part 2: Projection

How can we represent a 3-dimensional object such a cube in only 2-dimensions, such as on a flat piece of paper? This is the problem of projection, and it inevitably introduces inaccuracies. Different choices of perspective will alter what features survive the projection process. For instance, a perfect cube has all faces square, with corner …

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What is a Buckyball? Part 1: Planar Graphs

Earlier this year I was involved with the construction of the `Giant 4D Buckyball‘, as part of the University of Edinburgh’s Innovative Learning Week. The sculpture was actually of something rather more complicated – the Cantitruncated 600-cell – but buckyballs (in various representations) were a fundamental building block. So, what exactly are they? Julia’s description …

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