S105 | 0224 | Subbaswamy, K.

Symmetry and beauty are attributes you normally associate with art. Did you know that such concepts play an important role in the sciences? The purpose of this course is to show how the concept of symmetry is used in physics (and chemistry) to understand nature. We will begin with the exploration of simple, intuitive notions of geometrical symmetry. We will get a glimpse of the mathematical language of symmetry. Then we will move on to the more subtle symmetries of space and time. Some of the most fundamental laws of nature, such as momentum and energy conservation, are related to symmetry properties of space and time. Finally, we will look at some current research involving clusters of atoms (fullerenes, nanotubes) where symmetry plays an important role.