Model of a Dual of an Archimedean Solid by Richard P. Baker, Baker #547 I
Model of a Dual of an Archimedean Solid by Richard P. Baker, Baker #547 I
 Description

This metal model painted white was constructed by Richard P. Baker. A mathematics professor at the University of Iowa, Baker believed that models were essential to instruction in many parts of mathematics and physics. Over one hundred of his models are in the NMAH collections.

A mark in pencil on the side of the model reads: 314940 131 (/) # 547 (/) I. The model fits in a cardboard box with a label pasted on the lid that reads: No. 547 (/) SPACE DUALS OF (/) ARCHIMEDEAN HALF REGULAR (/) BODIES No. 465, I, p. 20. A larger label, pasted on the side of the box, reads: Mathematical Models (/) Made by (/) R. P. BAKER (/) No. 547 POLYHEDRON (/) ALL FACES CONGRUENT (/) Dual of Archimedes’ (/) Halfregular body (/) I (3,6,6.).

Mathematicians have known since ancient times that there are only five regular convex polyhedra. The faces such a solid are identical regular polygons and the vertices are all alike (each vertex has the same arrangement of polygons). The Hellenistic mathematician Archimedes showed that there are thirteen other polyhedra that have identical vertices, sides of the same length, and faces that are not all the same regular polygons. These came to be called the semiregular Archimedean solids. There also are two infinite series of semiregular polyhedra, the prisms (with a regular polygon on the top, the same regular polyhedron on the bottom, and squares around the sides) and the antiprisms (with a regular polygon with an even number of sides on the top, the same polygon on the bottom, and equilateral triangles around the sides). For examples of these polyhedra, made by Michael Berman, see 1978.1065.006 through 1978.1065.20.

In the midnineteenth century, the mathematician Eugène Catalan described another set of polyhedra which have identical faces and form regular polygons when a vertex is truncated. However, the faces are not regular polygons and the vertices are not identical. These thirteen polyhedra are called duals of Archimedean solids or Catalan solids.

Baker published a catalog of his models in 1931, and included as #465, numbers I through XV, thirteen Archimedean solids plus plus a representative prism and an antiprism. Examples of these do not survive at the Smithsonian. He also made models he called “space duals of Archimedean halfregular bodies,” and might now be described as Catalan solids. These had a general number 547 in Baker’s scheme, and given index numbers I through XV. This is the first of them (e.g. I). Baker’s 1931 catalog includes models assigned numbers as high as 542, suggesting that this model and the other Archimedean duals date from slightly after the catalog.

The twelve faces of the model are equal isosceles triangles. Four vertices have three triangles that come together and four have six. Truncating the model would produce four equilateral triangles and four regular hexagons. The polyhedron is sometimes called a triakis tetrahedron, although Baker did not use that name.

References:

H. M. Cundy and A. P. Rollet, Mathematical Models, Oxford: The Clarendon Press,1961.

R. P. Baker, Mathematical Models, Iowa City, Iowa,1931, p. 20.
 Location

Currently not on view
 date made

ca. 1932

ca 1932
 maker

Baker, Richard P.
 Physical Description

metal (overall material)

white (overall color)

soldered (overall production method/technique)
 Measurements

average spatial: 7.8 cm x 8.9 cm x 8.9 cm; 3 1/16 in x 3 1/2 in x 3 1/2 in
 ID Number

MA.211257.111
 accession number

211257
 catalog number

211257.111
 Credit Line

Gift of Frances E. Baker
 subject

Mathematics
 See more items in

Medicine and Science: Mathematics

Science & Mathematics
 Data Source

National Museum of American History