The Symmetries of Things, Hardback Book
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Start with a single shape. Repeat it in some way-translation, reflection over a line, rotation around a point-and you have created symmetry. Symmetry is a fundamental phenomenon in art, science, and nature that has been captured, described, and analyzed using mathematical concepts for a long time.

Inspired by the geometric intuition of Bill Thurston and empowered by his own analytical skills, John Conway, with his coauthors, has developed a comprehensive mathematical theory of symmetry that allows the description and classification of symmetries in numerous geometric environments. This richly and compellingly illustrated book addresses the phenomenological, analytical, and mathematical aspects of symmetry on three levels that build on one another and will speak to interested lay people, artists, working mathematicians, and researchers.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 448 pages, Illustrations (some col.)
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Geometry
  • ISBN: 9781568812205



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Have you ever exploited symmetry in your own designs, proofs, or organizational solutions? Of course the answer is "yes": symmetry is one of the deepest principles of human mind. In the form of conservation laws, it literally provides the basis for much of modern physics. But don't worry, this book is not about physics! It is a heavily illustrated book about the math behind symmetry.Conway has created a wonderful example of graphical clarity and geometric thinking about regular patterns and tilings. Don't be put off by his coinage of goofy terms; he successfully presents deep mathematics via purely visual proofs. Furthermore, he turns the old way of presenting symmetry on its head, starting with geometry and topology, and only later addressing group theory.This book is highly recommended to anyone who is interested in how symmetry works. Some understanding of group theory would be helpful, but the graphics alone make perusing the book worthwhile.