Why So Many Shapes?
Date: 05/01/2001 at 21:42:52 From: Yifeng Zhao Subject: Why so many shapes? Dear Dr. Math, I just want to know why there are so many shapes in the world. I'm trying to figure it out, but when I tried, I thought it's impossible.
Date: 05/02/2001 at 13:58:29 From: Doctor Ian Subject: Re: Why so many shapes? Hi Yifeng, That's a good question. Here's one way to think about it. If I give you a number greater than 2, you can think of a shape that has that number of sides, right? Number Shape ------ ----- 3 triangle 4 rectangle 5 pentagon 6 hexagon 7 heptagon 8 octagon and so on. You can find names for lots of these shapes in the Dr. Math FAQ, at Naming Polygons and Polyhedra http://mathforum.org/dr.math/faq/faq.polygon.names.html but even if you don't know the 'official' name, you could use a name like '256-gon' or '4527657-gon', and someone else would know what you're talking about. Since every number has at least one shape associated with it, there must be as many shapes as there are numbers. But there is an endless supply of numbers - so there must be an endless supply of shapes, too! Does this help? Write back if you'd like to talk about this some more, or if you have any other questions. - Doctor Ian, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
Date: 05/07/2001 at 14:13:14 From: Yifeng Zhao Subject: Re: Why so many shapes? Dear Dr.Math, I didn't expect to get your answer this quickly. Thank you for your patience and intelligent hard work! I will devote more time to learning about math, and of course Ask Dr. Math. Best regards, Yifeng
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