Logo IMG
HOME > My Amsci > Restricted Access

Restricted Access The content you've requested is available without charge only to active Sigma Xi members and American Scientist subscribers.

If you are an active member or an individual subscriber, please log in now in order to access this article.

If you are not a member or individual subscriber, you can:



Figure 4. New soccer balls...Click to Enlarge Image To a mathematician, the iconic soccer ball...Click to Enlarge Image

The standard soccer ball, a spherical polyhedron made up of 12 (traditionally black) pentagons and 20 (traditionally white) hexagons, is an object of more than sporting interest. It shares its geometry with the carbon-60 molecule or "buckyball" and has inspired considerable work in group theory. But mathematicians can design many more soccer balls, extending the basic design using the tools of topology and combinatorics. Using a construction called a "branched covering," a topologist can slice, duplicate and reattach the standard ball's cover, even creating toroidal soccer balls. Generalizing the rules of soccer ball opens up further possibilities and mathematical questions for exploration.

Connect With Us:


Subscribe to Free eNewsletters!

Read Past Issues on JSTOR

JSTOR, the online academic archive, contains complete back issues of American Scientist from 1913 (known then as the Sigma Xi Quarterly) through 2005.

The table of contents for each issue is freely available to all users; those with institutional access can read each complete issue.

View the full collection here.

RSS Feed Subscription

Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.

Write for American Scientist

Review our submission guidelines.

Subscribe to American Scientist