August 30, 2020

Long back in the 5th-century B.C.E, the Greek philosopher Plato remarked that Universe is made of five types of matter, namely- Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Cosmos and that Earth has a particular geometry, a platonic shape of CUBE. And guess what? The philosophy is not entirely wrong!!! Earth is indeed made of Cubes.


Well hold on, it’s not just a philosophy, in a new paper of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team from the University of Pennsylvania, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and the University of Debrecen used math, geology, and physics to demonstrate that the average shape of rocks in Earth is a Cube. Geophysicist Douglas Jerolmack said that Plato’s conception about element Earth being made of cubes is, literally, the statistic average model for real Earth. The work of  Mathematician Gabor Domokos who was also the part of research group predicted that natural rocks would fragment into cubic shapes. Domokos briefed that if a three-dimensional polyhedral shape is sliced into two fragments and then each fragment is sliced, again and again, we will get a vast number of different polyhedral shapes. But, in an average sense, the resulting shape of the fragments will be a Cube. Domokos involved two Hungarian physicists, Ferenc Kun and Janos Torok, to validate this finding. Then they went to Douglas to know how does nature lets this happen.

The whole team started working backward to understand the Physics that results in this shape. The question they answered is what shapes are created when rocks are broken. They found that the core mathematical conjecture unites geological processes not only on Earth but around the solar system as well. Douglas explained that fragmentation is the ubiquitous process that is grinding down planetary materials and that the solar system is littered with ice and rocks that are ceaselessly smashing apart. Components that break out of solid objects must fit in together without leaving any gap which is only possible when the broken polyhedras are of a uniform length – a CUBE.


A variety of rocks were measured to prove this and it was found 9 times out of 10, if a rock gets pulled apart or squeezed or sheared (all these happening at the same time), then the end fragment will be on average a cubic shape. Under special stress conditions, the result might be different.

 Therefore, when u pick up a rock in nature, even if it’s not a perfect cube, each one of it is a statistical shadow of a cube. 








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