Swallowtail on the shore

Snapshots of modern mathematics from Oberwolfach

Swallowtail on the shore

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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Mathematical subjects

Algebra and Number Theory
Geometry and Topology


Ragnar-Olaf Buchweitz, Eleonore Faber


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)


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snapshots: overview

Mathematical subjects

Algebra and Number Theory
Didactics and Education
Discrete Mathematics and Foundations
Geometry and Topology
Numerics and Scientific Computing
Probability Theory and Statistics

Connections to other fields

Chemistry and Earth Science
Computer Science
Engineering and Technology
Humanities and Social Sciences
Life Science
Reflections on Mathematics

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