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Mathematics of the soccer ball to be focus of February Science Cafe

A soccer ball is a mathematical object. Its traditional covering is a convex polyhedron made of pentagons and hexagons. A pentagon and two hexagons meet at every corner, or vertex, meaning that any two vertices look locally the same. 

Other convex polyhedra such as the five Platonic solids, which include the tetrahedron and the cube, also have two or more vertices that look the same, but are there more?

Azer Akhmedov, assistant professor of mathematics at NDSU, will answer those questions and more at the February Science Café titled “Who Invented the Soccer Ball?” The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m., in Stoker’s Basement, Hotel Donaldson in Fargo. It’s free and open to the public.

Besides the Platonic solids, there are 13 polyhedra where the vertices look locally the same. Some of these polyhedra are more complicated than a soccer ball. Some of them, including the soccer ball, arise in different areas of mathematics, revealing symmetries of the mathematical objects.

Attendees must be 21 or older or accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information, contact Diane Goede at diane.goede@ndsu.edu or 701-231-7412.

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North Dakota State University
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