Discriminant of the Icosahedral Group - Greg Egan

Discriminant of the Icosahedral Group

This image, created by Greg Egan, shows the ‘discriminant’ of the symmetry group of the icosahedron. This group acts as linear transformations of \(\mathbb{R}^3\) and thus also \(\mathbb{C}^3\). By a theorem of Chevalley, the space of orbits of this group action is again isomorphic to \(\mathbb{C}^3\). Each point in the surface shown here corresponds to a ‘nongeneric’ orbit: an orbit with fewer than the maximal number of points. More precisely, the space of nongeneric orbits forms a complex surface in \(\mathbb{C}^3\), called the discriminant, whose intersection with \(\mathbb{R}^3\) is shown here.

Barth Sextic - Craig Kaplan

Barth Sextic

A sextic surface is one defined by a polynomial equation of degree 6. The Barth sextic, drawn above by Craig Kaplan, is the sextic surface with the maximum possible number of ordinary double points: that is, points where it looks like the origin of the cone in 3-dimensional space defined by \(x^2 + y^2 = z^2\).