Martin Levin

Retired high school math teacher
Portland, Oregon, USA

I received a Ph.D. in mathematics from Johns Hopkins. For most of my career I taught high school math in Waldorf schools, where the pedagogy encourages the bridging of mathematics and art. I'm now retired.
The Platonic solids are quite simple geometric forms, and yet, as one contemplates them and builds up and holds the forms in one’s imagination, they become quite captivating. The center point has a polar plane (in the sense of projective geometry), which is the plane at infinity. One can imagine the form carved out by planes and lines coming in from the infinitely distant periphery. The model shown here is designed to suggest shapes that are not solid blocks, but rather created by lines and planes coming from the periphery.

Ten Tetrahedra Tensegrity
Ten Tetrahedra Tensegrity
103 x 103 x 103 cm
Stainless steel

There are five regular tetrahedra made of stainless steel tubing, which are suspended by taut wires from one another, without touching each other. The wires themselves form another five tetrahedra, the mirror image of the first five. Altogether, these are the ten tetrahedra that can be inscribed in a dodecahedron. Ideally, the wires pass through the slots in the tubes without touching the tubes. To achieve the magic of large solid forms floating in space in symmetrical position, the wires must be in great tension with equal tension on all of them. For the required precision, I used threaded fasteners and machine shop lathe and milling machine. Unscrewing the fasteners makes it possible to disassemble and reassemble the whole sculpture.