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Symmetries in nature

Journal Article:

Abstract

Symmetry, disymmetry, chirality etc. are well-known topics in chemistry. But they cannot only be found on the molecular level of matter. Atoms and elementary particles in physics are also characterized by particular symmetry groups. Even living organisms and populations on the macroscopic level have functional properties of symmetry. The whole physical, chemical, and biological evolution seems to be regulated by the emergence of new symmetries and the breaking down of old ones. One is reminded of Heisenberg's famous statement: 'Die letzte Wurzel der Erscheinungen ist also nicht die Materie, sondern das mathematische Gesetz, die Symmetrie, die mathematische Form' (Wandlungen in den Grundlagen der Naturwissenschaften, 1959). Historically the belief in symmetry and simplicity of nature has a long philosophical tradition from the Pythagoreans, Plato and Greek astronomers to Kepler and modern scientists. Today, 'symmetries in nature' is a common topic of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. A lot of Nobel prizes were given in honour of inquiries concerning symmetries in nature. The fascination of symmetries is not only motivated by science, but by art and religion too. Therefore 'symmetris in nature' is an interdisciplinary topic which may help to overcome C.P. Snow's 'Two Cultures' of natural sciences and humanities. (author) 17  More>>
Authors:
Publication Date:
May 01, 1988
Product Type:
Journal Article
Reference Number:
AIX-19-073564; EDB-88-151235
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Chimia; (Switzerland); Journal Volume: 42:5
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; PHYSICS; SYMMETRY; BIOCHEMISTRY; BIOLOGY; CHEMISTRY; CHIRAL SYMMETRY; COSMOLOGY; GENERAL RELATIVITY THEORY; HARTREE-FOCK METHOD; MATHEMATICAL MODELS; NONLINEAR PROBLEMS; QUANTUM ELECTRODYNAMICS; SYMMETRY BREAKING; THERMODYNAMICS; TRANSFORMATIONS; ELECTRODYNAMICS; FIELD THEORIES; QUANTUM FIELD THEORY; 640000* - Physics
OSTI ID:
7137878
Research Organizations:
Konstanz Univ. (Germany, F.R.)
Country of Origin:
Switzerland
Language:
English
Other Identifying Numbers:
Journal ID: CODEN: CHIMA
Submitting Site:
INIS
Size:
Pages: 161-171
Announcement Date:

Journal Article:

Citation Formats

Mainzer, K. Symmetries in nature. Switzerland: N. p., 1988. Web.
Mainzer, K. Symmetries in nature. Switzerland.
Mainzer, K. 1988. "Symmetries in nature." Switzerland.
@misc{etde_7137878,
title = {Symmetries in nature}
author = {Mainzer, K}
abstractNote = {Symmetry, disymmetry, chirality etc. are well-known topics in chemistry. But they cannot only be found on the molecular level of matter. Atoms and elementary particles in physics are also characterized by particular symmetry groups. Even living organisms and populations on the macroscopic level have functional properties of symmetry. The whole physical, chemical, and biological evolution seems to be regulated by the emergence of new symmetries and the breaking down of old ones. One is reminded of Heisenberg's famous statement: 'Die letzte Wurzel der Erscheinungen ist also nicht die Materie, sondern das mathematische Gesetz, die Symmetrie, die mathematische Form' (Wandlungen in den Grundlagen der Naturwissenschaften, 1959). Historically the belief in symmetry and simplicity of nature has a long philosophical tradition from the Pythagoreans, Plato and Greek astronomers to Kepler and modern scientists. Today, 'symmetries in nature' is a common topic of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. A lot of Nobel prizes were given in honour of inquiries concerning symmetries in nature. The fascination of symmetries is not only motivated by science, but by art and religion too. Therefore 'symmetris in nature' is an interdisciplinary topic which may help to overcome C.P. Snow's 'Two Cultures' of natural sciences and humanities. (author) 17 refs., 21 figs.}
journal = {Chimia; (Switzerland)}
volume = {42:5}
journal type = {AC}
place = {Switzerland}
year = {1988}
month = {May}
}