- Series: Princeton Science Library
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press (January 1, 1983)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691023743
- ISBN-13: 978-0691023748
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,250,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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"This short book on a vast subject is the work of a master. With a few sure and authoritative words [Weyl] gives us the heart of the matter. There is no book . . . quite like this one on the subject of symmetry and I doubt if any book will be written in the future that will not in some way lean upon this one. . . . [I]t contains so much besides mathematics that it can still be read with profit and enjoyed by someone who has not advanced beyond long division."--John Tyler Bonner, Science
"Dr. Weyl presents a masterful and fascinating survey of the applications of the principle of symmetry in sculpture, painting, architecture, ornament, and design; its manifestations in organic and inorganic nature; and its philosophical and mathematical significance."--Scientific American
"Weyl offers deep insight into [the concept of symmetry], its foundations in group theory, its applications in physics, chemistry, and biology, and its role in art."--Manfred Eigen and Ruthild Winkler in Laws of the Game
"Vivid and picturesque. . . . [Weyl is] an outstanding thinker."--Wolfgang Yourgrau, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
From the Back Cover
Symmetry is one of the ideas by which man through the ages has tried to comprehend and create order, beauty, and perfection. Starting from the concept that symmetry equals harmony of proportions, this book gradually develops first the geometric concept of symmetry in its several forms as bilateral, translatory, rotational, ornamental, and crystallographic symmetry, and finally rises to the general abstract mathematical idea underlying all these special forms.
Top customer reviews
concise and thought provoking lacking some modern notions and strong mathematical deductions
Can be read from high scool students
an easy pace book ideal for a first contact with the subject
One may legitimately give 5 stars to any of Hermann Weyl books-- as he was not only a grand mathematician but also a prominent philosopher and physicist who with his open-mindedness and creativity contributed much to each faculty in the 20th century. However one may wonder why his books written long ago cannot be offered by Amazon as free e-books (in Kindle edition). Of course if you are a researcher, the Kindle edition lacks the page number you need in your reference. In any case, there is no such a short-come in the FREE PDF versions of Weyl books that you can easily find on internet and download, they include:
__Space, Time, Matter
__Philosophy of Mathematics
__Mind and Nature
__The Theory of Groups and Quantum Mechanics
This book, compiled from a lecture series Professor Weyl gave just prior to his retirement from the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, provides a nice introduction to these ideas, but also waxes philosophical at times which makes it an interesting read even for the knowledgeable student.
This book is filled with greyscale pictures which provide examples of precise types of symmetry in both art and nature. In many ways, it is these pictures which make the book so suitable for beginners in the discipline of symmetry.
Group theory is the mathematical language of symmetry, and the first chapter of this book discusses bilateral symmetry in depth. This is the simplest and more familiar of all symmetry types as it is present in our own bodies.
Professor Weyl also spends a good amount of time discussing the inherent bilateral symmetry of the universe and the laws of physics. This is an inadvertent source of entertainment as a few years later it was discovered that contrary to all the evidence and philosophical inclinations in this direction , it is actually not so. Weak nuclear interactions lack bilateral symmetry.
Oddly, this makes the universe even more like our own bodies which also appear to have bilateral symmetry until you really get inside of them.
The second chapter covers translational and rotational symmetries and provides many examples both from art and nature.
The third chapter discusses ornamental symmetries which are essentially two dimensional lattice symmetries.
The final chapter introduces crystals and the mathematics of symmetries in general.
There are also a couple of appendices which provide some additional mathematical details on a couple of points.
This book is widely considered to be a classic, and as I said is chock full of pictures illustrating various types of symmetries in nature, art, and even in mathematics itself.
I'd recommend this book to just about anyone with a smidgeon of curiosity. Many of the ideas on the mathematical side lack any appreciable development, and so this book reads a bit like a sightseeing tour, which I'm sure is exactly what Professor Weyl intended.
Widely referenced. Excellent reading. Highly recommended.