Swannies Theorems, Art in Maths and a follow-up to Pythagoras, De Tinseau and De Gua De Malves.

Go to content

Main menu


Visitors from the then Zululand and Lesotho took the balls northward calling  them Ixhosabals  and the name stuck, also at home. Some years later The Maths Department of  a local University had a good look at the ball and as result of shapes named by the Greeks tetrahedron and hexahedron, the Ixhosaball now shaped with twenty 'edrons' was introduced to formal Maths as the Icosahedron.

In the mean time in England the shape of the ball remained the same with inflated animal bladders still in use near the end of the 19 th  century when Richard Lindop developed the rubber bladder  and   the better known  John Dunlop  pneumatic tires for bicycles. Pumps replaced the lungs for better inflation.

By then also the population increase caused a shortage of materials and women became lazy to weave  materials while men got smarter and invented steam driven power looms, or so we are told by exclusively men historians, to produce materials on large  scale. All over the Industrial Revolution changed the way of life, machines doing much of the work. Young men became idle and would arrange ball games. Soon clubs were formed and organized games became popular. The somewhat erratic jumping of the 20 faced  but only 12 pointed ball made it unsuitable for serious competition, more so as betting on the results joined other such activities as horse racing and cock fighting, for which participating in the latter the good actor but obviously a poor chemist, Errol Flynn treated the spurs of his cock with poison and had to run for his life when the opposing cock, a known champ, fainted soon after the cocks had barely introduced themselves. In contrast with cock fighting  Soccer and betting thereon has always  been a game for gentlemen players and supporters where everything that happens is above board and few ever get hurt these days, except perhaps being cut by barbed wire separating opposing factions or a missile launched finding its mark.

To continue with the ball - the twelve points were cut off, truncated is the term used, and the five sided openings thus left covered with twelve pentagons while of the original twenty large triangles twenty  smaller hexagons remained.. This then is the  modern Football/Soccer Ball, the common name for the truncated icosahedron, actually the bloated truncated icosahedron, as its faces indeed bulge.

The ball has 60 points (vertices where three faces meet ) and a carbon molecule of this shape , the  C60 molecule was indeed discovered in a rock from outer space. Inside each molecule was trapped a helium atom and this probably gave blind soccer players  the idea of putting a bell inside their balls.

This molecule is called a buckminsterfullerene  by Chemists or a buckyball for short, but should really have been called soccerene. It is related to the diamond in that it uses the same kind of atomic bond and a certain variation of it is indeed very  tough, though pliable and might one day become the material balls are made. By stretch of the imagination the amazing element Carbon and its preferred atomic structures can even associate the modern wonder material Graphene (buckypaper) with a long lasting soccer  ball, the figure six making the fix..

2009: Bloated truncated icosahedrons are kicked around all over the world every day. Soon South Africa will host the 1910 Soccer World Cup Series. Many of us have French ancestors. Should we not ask Mr Danny Jordaan to consider dedicating the Series to some  one woman, to whom all women and all soccer supporters owe so much, Mrs. Historalix, the originator of the bra and the soccer ball?
Further to her honor girls, say between twenty and eighty, advertising top line bras and also showing off a few originals, could parade before the start of a game, individuals shown proudly in action on the big screen .This would surely boost ticket sales and income from advertising and TV.
                                                                             This concludes this essay

Back to content | Back to main menu