Math Fun Facts!
hosted by the Harvey Mudd College Math Department created, authored and ©1999-2010 by Francis Su
Subscribe to our RSS feed   or follow us on Twitter.
Get a random Fun Fact!
No subject limitations
Search only in selected subjects
    Calculus or Analysis
    Number Theory
    Other subjects
  Select Difficulty  
Enter keywords 

  The Math Fun Facts App!
  List All : List Recent : List Popular
  About Math Fun Facts / How to Use
  Contributors / Fun Facts Home
© 1999-2010 by Francis Edward Su
All rights reserved.

From the Fun Fact files, here is a Fun Fact at the Advanced level:

Slices of Hanging Cubes

Hang a cube from one of its vertices. Now, if you slice it horizontally through its center, you get a hexagon.

What if you do this with a 4-dimensional cube, i.e., a tesseract? The slice will yield a 3-dimensional object--- what does it look like?

Answer: you get a octahedron!

Presentation Suggestions:
Use lower dimensional analogies to help students visualize higher dimensional objects.

The Math Behind the Fact:
It is not hard to see (using symmetry arguments) that the object you get must be regular. By analogy with the slice of the 3-cube, the slice of the 4-cube must cut every "face". The number of "faces" of a 4-cube is eight. The only regular 8-sided solid is an octahedron.

Visualizing high dimensional objects can be taxing, but fun!

How to Cite this Page:
Su, Francis E., et al. "Slices of Hanging Cubes." Math Fun Facts. <>.

Keywords:    geometry
Subjects:    geometry
Level:    Advanced
Fun Fact suggested by:   Ravi Vakil
Suggestions? Use this form.
Click to rate this Fun Fact...
    *   Awesome! I totally dig it!
    *   Fun enough to tell a friend!
    *   Mildly interesting
    *   Not really noteworthy
and see the most popular Facts!
New: get the MathFeed iPhone App!

Brings you news and views on math:
showcasing its power, beauty, and humanity

Want another Math Fun Fact?

For more fun, tour the Mathematics Department at Harvey Mudd College!