Archimedean solid

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In geometry an Archimedean solid is a highly symmetric, semi-regular convex polyhedron composed of two or more types of regular polygons meeting in identical vertices. They are distinct from the Platonic solids, which are composed of only one type of polygon meeting in identical vertices, and from the Johnson solids, whose regular polygonal faces do not meet in identical vertices.

"Identical vertices" are usually taken to mean that for any two vertices, there must be an isometry of the entire solid that takes one vertex to the other. Sometimes it is instead only required that the faces that meet at one vertex are related isometrically to the faces that meet at the other. This difference in definitions controls whether the pseudorhombicuboctahedron is considered an Archimedean solid or a Johnson solid.

Prisms and antiprisms, whose symmetry groups are the dihedral groups, are generally not considered to be Archimedean solids, despite meeting the above definition. With this restriction, there are only finitely many Archimedean solids. They can all be made via Wythoff constructions from the Platonic solids with tetrahedral, octahedral and icosahedral symmetry.


Origin of name

The Archimedean solids take their name from Archimedes, who discussed them in a now-lost work. During the Renaissance, artists and mathematicians valued pure forms and rediscovered all of these forms. This search was completed around 1620 by Johannes Kepler[1], who defined prisms, antiprisms, and the non-convex solids known as the Kepler-Poinsot polyhedra.


There are 13 Archimedean solids (15 if the mirror images of two enantiomorphs, see below, are counted separately).

Here the vertex configuration refers to the type of regular polygons that meet at any given vertex. For example, a vertex configuration of (4,6,8) means that a square, hexagon, and octagon meet at a vertex (with the order taken to be clockwise around the vertex).

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