Thursday, August 22, 2013

Throwback Thursday

From our August 2007 new book list!

Copies of this title available at UW-Madison Libraries
Stewart, I. (2007). Why beauty is truth: a history of symmetry. New York: Basic Books. 
Although symmetry is a key idea that has long been important to artists, architects, and musicians, it has only recently moved to center stage in mathematics. Stewart (Univ. of Warwick) provides a very readable narrative of the mathematicians who brought about this change and how the mathematical structures and tools of symmetry, especially group theory, have become integral parts of relativity, quantum mechanics, string theory, and modern cosmology. In fundamental physics, it may even be the case that the possible structures of space-time and matter are determined by their symmetries. Throughout his account, Stewart keeps returning to his assumption, "Mathematical beauty is expected to be a prerequisite for physical truth," and how the notion of symmetry makes this possible.  -- R. M. Davis, emeritus, Albion College (CHOICE Reviews October 2007).

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