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Archive for August 1st, 2007

Symmetry

Everyone loves symmetry. As I was reminded as I am participating in a curriculum workshop at William and Mary College this week, “Physicists love symmetry”. Observers of beauty, whether of your beloved’s form or “peak flower” bloom or architecture or tree bole or interior decoration, love symmetry. Music and poetry have popular appeal when there is symmetry. Mathematician’s even do proofs (ugh!) to have symmetry (1≡1). You don’t have to be OCD to appreciate or seek or manage for symmetry. God has made you with a built in desire for it. When a musical chord is not resolved (all notes simple multiples that resonate rather than produce dissonance) you cringe because of the interference of the sound waves that is displeasing. The “off key” sound is purposeful to produce tension in your spirit but is resolved in good music (judgment call I know, but it is also the very argument of this post). God has even put symmetry into the seemingly asymmetrical. For example, leaves do not always appear symmetrical. But informed geometers know that deep within their structures are molecules attaching in symmetrical structures that build upon each other in what the mathematician calls a fractal (a repeating mathematical progression; clear example: the shape of a nautilus seashell). And the physicist loves the symmetry because it points to simplicity and structure, the evidence of truth and therefore of satisfaction to the physicist. So how about the most asymmetrical object or idea you can think of. Does it have a hidden symmetry we have yet to find or evidence of a degradation from its original or intended form? I suspect that if God is the author of it there is symmetry to be found. It matches His nature and points to Him.

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