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Monday, April 9, 2007

Monday April 9, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:20 PM
Symmetry
for Beavis and Butt-Head

7:20 in the Book
(An illustration from
Mathematics and Narrative;
the “Book” is The Gospel
According to St. Matthew
.)

From Ian Stewart’s new book,
Why Beauty is Truth:
A History of Symmetry

Beauty, Truth, Symmetry

Is Beauty Truth and Truth Beauty?,”
a review by famed vulgarizer
Martin Gardner of the new book
by his fellow vulgarizer Ian Stewart
in the April 2007 Scientific American:

“Associated with every kind of symmetry is a ‘group.’ Stewart explains the group concept in a simple way by considering operations on an equilateral triangle. Rotate it 60 degrees in either direction, and it looks the same. Every operation has an ‘inverse,’ that cancels the operation. Imagine the corners of the triangle labeled A, B and C. A 60-degree clockwise rotation alters the corners’ positions. If this is followed by a similar rotation the other way, the original positions are restored. If you do nothing to the triangle, this is called the ‘identity’ operation. The set of all symmetry transformations of the triangle constitutes its group.”

“Is Beauty Truth?”
asked jesting Gardner…

The reasoned reply of
Beavis and Butt-Head:

“Sixty degrees, a hundred
and twenty degrees, who
gives a rat’s ass?”

1 Comment

  1. Comment by SuSu — Monday, April 9, 2007 @ 9:52 PM

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