Research NewsMathematics

How to Play Platonic Billiards

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  21 Feb 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5303, pp. 1070
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5303.1070

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

SAN DIEGO—Minnesota Fats has some mathematical competition. With a little help from a computer, a mathematician has demonstrated some amazing three-dimensional shots for a cue ball bouncing around inside three equal-sided, or Platonic, solids—the eight-sided octahedron, the 12-sided dodecahedron, and the 20-sided icosahedron. Each shot hits each side of the pertinent solid and returns to its exact starting point and direction of travel.