Symmetry is an appealing feature in many areas such as human and animal life forms, art, architecture and so on. However, symmetries in physics take on a far greater significance as they actually govern the dynamics of the physical under consideration.
Emmy Noether's remarkable theorem of 1918 shows that each symmetry implies a related conservation law. Symmetries parity, charge conjugation and time reversal - regarded as exact in classical physics - were found to be broken in the quantum world, possibly explaining the matter/antimatter asymmetry observed in our Universe. The discovery of new quark flavour quantum numbers and the colour quantum numbers of quarks required new symmetries governing their theoretical description now known as the Standard Model - the spontaneous breaking of these symmetries required the existence of the famous Higgs boson discovered at CERN in 2012.
This one-day conference will review the role of symmetries from classical physics to the heart of modern fundamental theory including some still unproven (such as supersymmetry) which could open dramatic new vistas in our understanding of the Universe.
The St Cross Centre for the History and Philosophy of Physics (HAPP).