aequationes mathematicae

, Volume 16, Issue 1–2, pp 1–20 | Cite as

Regular polyhedra—old and new

  • Branko Grünbaum
Expository papers


Although it is customary to define polygons as certain families of edges, when considering polyhedra it is usual to view polygons as 2-dimensional pieces of the plane. If this rather illogical point of view is replaced by consistently understanding polygons as 1-dimensional complexes, the theory of polyhedra becomes richer and more satisfactory. Even with the strictest definition of regularity this approach leads to 17 individual regular polyhedra in the Euclidean 3-space and 12 infinite families of such polyhedra, besides the traditional ones (which consist of 5 Platonic polyhedra, 4 Kepler—Poinsot polyhedra, 3 planar tessellations and 3 Petrie—Coxeter polyhedra). Among the many still open problems that naturally arise from the new point of view, the most obvious one is the question whether the regular polyhedra found in the paper are the only ones possible in the Euclidean 3-space.

AMS (1970) subject classification

Primary 50B30 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Branko Grünbaum
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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