Symmetry laws (physics)
Wilczek, Frank Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Nobelist.
Last reviewed:January 2021
- Symmetries of space and time
- Discrete symmetries
- Internal symmetry
- Localization of symmetry
- Guidance to physical law
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The physical laws which are expressions of symmetries. The term symmetry, as it is used in mathematics and the exact sciences, refers to a special property of bodies or of physical laws, namely that they are left unchanged by transformations which, in general, might have changed them. For example, the geometric form of a sphere is not changed by any rotation of the sphere around its center, and so a sphere can be said to be symmetric under rotations. Symmetry can be very powerful in constraining form. Indeed, referring to the same example, the only sort of surface which is symmetric under arbitrary rotations is a sphere.
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