Thursday, 23 April 2009


One of the most unravelling aspects of theoretical chemistry (and physics) is the study of symmetry. If one can classify the realm of Platonic solids and chemical structures into "groups" (known as point groups because one element is invariant under any symmetry transformation) then it becomes apparent that physical properties of the members of each group share common traits. This then allows for a systematic classification and prediction of properties of all known chemicals in a very hasty fashion. Chemical symmetry has gained a respectable place in any chemist' education because the theory is so elegant and the results so startling, especially because symmetry becomes a powerful tool in quantum mechanics, reaction mechanism studies and much more. 

Symmetry relies on the mathematical sub-realm known as group theory. It is elegant, very easy to visualise and works neatly. 

So next time you look out of the window, regard the symmetry as a manifestation of the elegance of nature.


  1. so beautiful. the architecture and geometry of nature is underrated. so many things about earth and through studying biomedicine makes me surpass the beauty and complexity of the human body and makes me appreciate the finer and older elements of earth like the symbiosis between tree roots and algae. i mean i cannot begin to explain the respect and awe i have for these aspects of nature, theyre a pleasure to study.

  2. Hey, that's really cool. I hadn't considered the significance of symmetry in that light before.