BPML- Is symmetry useful? - Professor Sergey Shpectorov

Watson Building - Lecture Theatre A (G23), Zoom - registration required
Wednesday 26 January 2022 (19:00-20:00)

Rachel Burgess Outreach & Schools Liaison Officer

There is probably a consensus that symmetry is beautiful, like in a butterfly, for example. But useful? Can symmetry be useful? Of course it can! A simple example are refrigerator doors. They are made symmetric, so that one could attach them on the left or on the right, depending on the fridge’s location.

Starting from this simple example of symmetry, we will discuss what symmetry is, where it is found in nature, and how mathematics studies and utilises symmetry. It turns out that the axial symmetry, found in a beautiful butterfly or in a practical refrigerator door, is just a very basic kind of symmetry.

The group theory, studying symmetries of objects, uncovered much more complex and interesting symmetric objects. They are everywhere, from molecules and viruses to space and time in physical theories to infinite varieties of symmetries found in mathematics.

The Birmingham Popular Maths Lecture series runs in the Watson Building (School of Mathematics) on the last Wednesday of each month, arriving from 6.30pm onwards for a 7pm start. We will also be showing the lecture live on Zoom for those that are unable to attend the lecture. 

To watch the lecture on Zoom you will need to register using the link above. If you plan on attending the lecture in person there is no need to register. Please note that attendees in the lecture theatre will be given priority for the Q&A but some questions will be taken from Zoom.

The Birmingham Popular Mathematics Lectures are open to all members of the public and the University who are interested in the study of Mathematics. They are particularly suitable for those studying Mathematics at A Level and we also welcome advanced GCSE students. Young people are welcome on their own, with parents or with a school group.

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