Nobel Prize-winning physicist
to speak on symmetry
March 30, 1998
Symmetry, one of the most fascinating concepts of nature, was believed by ancient philosophers in Asia to be a property of the heavens, with the real world governed by broken symmetry. Similarly, while the laws of physics are governed by symmetries, the physical world is governed by symmetry breaking.
These ideas and more will be discussed by Nobel Laureate T.D. Lee of Columbia University in a presentation titled "Symmetries and Asymmetries" on Friday, April 3, at 4 p.m. in Room P38 of the Edward V. Gant Science Complex..
Lee's presentation is the inaugural installment of the Charles A. Reynolds distinguished lecture series, which is sponsored by the Department of Physics.
Lee received the Nobel Prize in 1957 for proposing that a certain symmetry known as "parity" is broken in nature. Parity symmetry requires that the world and its mirror image are identical. However, in a world of broken parity symmetry, one would find a clock ticking at a different rate than its image in a mirror. Such phenomena were observed in the quantum world of nuclear physics, leading to one of the most important discoveries of this century.
Coffee and tea will be served prior to the lecture at 3:30 p.m. in the Physics Lounge, P103. The event is open to the public.