These Brand New Shapes Are a Class of Their Own

Until today, scientists only knew of three classes of 3 dimensional solids. Now they've got a fourth. This new flavor of shapes are called Goldberg polyhedrons, and they are the first new class of shapes discovered in over four hundred years.

The criteria for being your own type of three dimensional solid is all about whether your edges are equal lengths, and whether your faces are regular polygons. Discovered by UCLA neuroscientist Stan Schein and UCLA neuroscientist James Gayed, Goldberg polyhedra (pictured left) do have sides that are all the same length, but it's polygonal faces have equal angles. And surprisingly enough, that's a combo that's actually never been seen before. The Goldberg polyhedra's properties, specifically their equal angles, give them a rounded, spherical appearance.

The mathematicians who discovered these unique shapes don't see them solving any problems right now, but envision at least a few fun applications. Their distinctive roundedness could improve the way a golf ball slices through air. In another way, they do strongly resemble viruses. If it turned out that viruses obeyed Goldberg polyhedron geometry that could really help to inform the development of drugs. But most important for this team, they will join the ranks of three very influential thinkers in textbooks all across the world.

[Science News via The Conversation]