Physics and Astronomy Colloquium Featuring Best-Selling Author Mario Livio Nov. 22

Event: Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Speaker: Mario Livio, internationally known astrophysicist and best-selling author

Topic: Symmetry: From Human Perception to the Laws of Nature

Date & Time: Nov. 22, 3:45 p.m.

Location: Robert L. Bigelow Physics Building, Room 217

What do Bach's compositions, Rubik's Cube, the way we choose our mates, and the physics of subatomic particles have in common? All are governed by principles of symmetry, which elegantly unify scientific and artistic principles. Yet the mathematical language of symmetry — known as "group theory" did not emerge from the study of symmetry at all, but from an equation that couldn't be solved. 

For thousands of years mathematicians solved progressively more difficult algebraic equations, until they encountered the quintic equation, which resisted solution for three centuries. Working independently, two great prodigies ultimately proved that the quintic cannot be solved by a simple formula. These geniuses, a Norwegian named Niels Henrik Abel and a romantic Frenchman named Évariste Galois, both died tragically young. Their incredible labor, however, produced the origins of the language of all symmetries.

People in the News

a woman and man wearing a doctor's coat
People | December 4, 2019
Jabre Millon sees his future medical career as a way to assist patients overcome obstacles.
John Bowers poses in front of a bookshelf.
People | December 2, 2019
The longtime English professor says teaching Tolkien at UNLV helped him make his greatest literary discovery.
portrait of woman
People | November 25, 2019
Jean Munson of the Women's Research Institute of Nevada credits professor Joanne Goodwin, the institute's director emerita, as having been an important mentor.