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Where Symmetry Laws Came From?

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on April 11, 2001 19:17:55 UTC

Symmetry laws don't come from anywhere! They are nothing more than the consequences of a request for internal self consistency. My introduction to the idea of the consequences of symmetry made that abundantly clear.

The teacher gave us the following problem--

Suppose you want to know which way a board is going to warp when you cut it out of a log. (As a general rule, not a particular log). Suppose you have a direct connection to God himself and we all know God knows the correct answer.

Now I give you a test where the board is sawn directly through the center of the tree. (We really need a drawing here but I will assume you understand the problem)

After you hand in your paper, I tell you that you did the wrong problem (the ink had bled through the paper and you were looking at the back side), you were supposed to do the mirror image of the problem!

Clearly the best answer is the board won't warp because either answer (bowing right or left) can't be the same in the mirror image and the problem in the mirror image is exactly the same.

So I insist, "symmetry laws" don't come from anywhere except consistency

Have fun -- Dick

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