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Why Beauty is Truth - A short history of symmetry

In this podcast series Professor Ian Stewart of Warwick's Department of Mathematics explores the history of symmetry and its impact on mathematics, physics and our understanding of the Universe.

  1. Introducing Symmetry
  2. Babylonian and Greek mathematics and the role of Omar Khayyam
  3. Competitive mathematics in Renaissance Italy
  4. Évariste Galois - the failed revolutionary
  5. Physicists start to notice and Einstein changes everything
  6. Symmetry and Quantum Mechanics
  7. Symmetry, string theory and an equation for everything (plus - could we be living in an asymmetrical universe?)
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Symmetry, string theory and an equation for everything (plus - could we be living in an asymmetrical universe?)

14:06, Mon 4 Jun 2007

In this episode Professor Ian Stewart explores the connections between symmetry, particle physics, string and superstring theory.

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Symmetry and Quantum Mechanics

09:52, Tue 29 May 2007

Professor Ian Stewart looks at the world of Quantum Mechanics and how symmetry informs our understanding of particles and waves.

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Physicists, Einstein and Symmetry

14:51, Mon 21 May 2007

Professor Ian Stewart shows how the mathematicians work on symmetry and group theory influenced the work of physicists and how Einstein’s work revolutionised our view of the symmetries of the universe around us.

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Group theory and the failed revolutionary

10:28, Wed 16 May 2007

Professor Ian Stewart talks about the life of Evariste Galois – the failed revolutionary who developed Group Theory and changed the way we think about mathematics, physics and the world around us.

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Competitive mathematics in Renaissance Italy

09:05, Tue 8 May 2007

In this episode Professor Ian Stewart describes how the scandalous world of competitive mathematics in renaissance Italy encouraged the development of our understanding of equations, algebra and laid the foundations for our modern understanding of symmetry.

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Babylonian and Greek mathematics

10:35, Fri 4 May 2007

In this episode Professor Ian Stewart talks about the Babylonian approach to mathematics, how the Greeks used geometry to solve equations and the impact of Omar Kyham.

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What is symmetry?

10:34, Fri 4 May 2007

In our first episode Professor Stewart explains what symmetry is and how mathematicians and physicists have approached the subject.
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A short history of symmetry

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Professor Ian Stewart's book, Why Beauty is Truth , is published by Basic Books inc.