Scientists reveal average shape of Earth's rocks, proving Greek philosopher Plato right

Plato, the Greek philosopher who lived 2,500 years ago, theorised that the universe was made of five types of matter: earth, air, fire, water, and cosmos. Each of these was described with a particular geometry, a platonic shape. For earth, that shape was the cube.

In more recent centuries science has moved to instead see the atom as the building block of the universe, yet new research has come to the 'mind-blowing' conclusion that Plato was correct about cuboid structures being integral to Earth's make-up.

The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, by a team from the University of Pennsylvania, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and University of Debrecen uses mathematics, geology, and physics to show that the average shape of rocks on Earth is a cube.

"Plato is widely recognized as the first person to develop the concept of an atom, the idea that matter is composed of some indivisible component at the smallest scale," says geophysicist Douglas Jerolmack, told Science Daily. "But that understanding was only conceptual; nothing about our modern understanding of atoms derives from what Plato told us.

"The interesting thing here is that what we find with rock, or earth, is that there is more than a conceptual lineage back to Plato. It turns out that Plato's conception about the element earth being made up of cubes is, literally, the statistical average model for real earth. And that is just mind-blowing."

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