Title

The Flaw in Euler's Proof of His Polyhedral Formula

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2007

Department

Mathematics

Language

English

Publication Title

The American Mathematical Monthly

Abstract

Leonhard Euler, in the course of his long and productive career, published 866 mathematical works, enough mathematics to fill seventy-four volumes. On the theory of polyhedra, however, Euler did not contribute many pages of new material. Nevertheless, with the following theorem he made the most significant contribution to the theory since the foundational work of the ancient Greeks, perhaps the most important contribution ever [6, p. 156]:

Theorem.

In every solid enclosed by plane faces, the number of faces along with the number of solid angles exceeds the number of edges by two.

This theorem, which we refer to as Euler’s polyhedral formula, typically has the form

VE + F = 2,

where V, E, and F denote the number of vertices, edges, and faces of a polyhedron.

Comments

For more information on the published version, visit Taylor and Francis's Website.

DOI

10.1080/00029890.2007.11920417

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