Science Is Founded on Symmetry

Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)


The chapter starts by defining nature as the material universe with which we can, or can conceivably, interact. Science, then, is our attempt to understand rationally and objectively the reproducible and predictable aspects of nature. It is shown that science operates by the method of reduction, by “slicing” the Universe into “parts,” and that reduction implies symmetry. Three ways that reduction is applied in science are discusses: observer and observed, quasi-isolated system and surroundings, and initial state and evolution. The symmetry implied by each reduction is pointed out. It is for quasi-isolated systems that order and law are found, so for such systems reduction into initial state and evolution can be useful. Science rests firmly on the triple foundation of reproducibility, predictability, and reduction. The chapter discusses in detail reproducibility, the possibility of replicating experiments, and shows how reproducibility is symmetry and how it implies analogy, which is symmetry too. Then, with a detailed discussion the same os shown for predictability, the existence of order from which laws can be formulated, predicting the results of new experiments. The chapter elaborates a bit on the role of analogy, which is symmetry, in science and in any science related activity: It is absolutely essential. And putting it all together, it is shown that via reproducibility, predictability, and reduction, and with the help of analogy, symmetry holds major importance in the foundation of science. So much so, in fact, that one might well claim that science is symmetry.


Solar System Periodic Table Isolate System Change Experiment Observational Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

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