Events, Laws of Nature, and Invariance Principles

  • E. P. Wigner
Part of the The Collected Works of Eugene Paul Wigner book series (WIGNER, volume B / 6)


It is a great and unexpected honor to have the opportunity to speak here today. Six years ago, Yang and Lee spoke here, reviewing symmetry principles in general and their discovery of the violation of the parity principle in particular.1 There is little point in repeating what they said on the history of the invariance principles, or on my own contribution to these, which they, naturally, exaggerated. What I would like to discuss instead is the general role of symmetry and invariance principles in physics, both modem and classical. More precisely, I would like to discuss the relation between three categories which play a fundamental role in all natural sciences: events, which are the raw materials for the second category, the laws of nature, and symmetry principles, for which I would like to support the thesis that the laws of nature form the raw material.


Invariance Principle Planetary Orbit Symmetry Principle Bryn Mawr Invariance Transformation 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

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  • E. P. Wigner

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