What do Schrodinger's wave functions, Escher's intricate tiling patterns and chemistry's latest marvel, buckminsterfullerene, have in common? This stunning book, written by two world--famous scientists, introduces the reader to one of nature's most fundamental, and ubiquitous, phenomena: Symmetry. Enormous in scope, this scientific tour--de--force covers topics as diverse as quantum mechanics, stereochemistry, Penrose tilings and Raphael's Madonna. The authors connect these apparently unrelated fields in a completely non--mathematical fashion, which should appeal to the general and specialist reader alike. Lucidly written and beautifully illustrated, this book provides an eminently readable discussion of the omnipresent concept of symmetry, its application in all branches of science, and its perception in nature, art and elsewhere.
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EDGAR HEILBRONNER was born in Munich, Bavaria, in 1921, and moved to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1935. After studying chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, he held a Rockefeller research fellowship at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He returned to the ETH where he became Professor of Theoretical Organic Chemistry in 1964, after having spent half a year at Cambridge University, England. In 1968 he moved to Basel, to assume the directorship of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the University of Basel, a post he held until his retirement in 1988. He has been Visiting Professor at several universities and is the author of about 350 scientific papers, in addition to the book The HMO Model and its Application (together with Hans Bock). He was awarded the Marcel Benoist Prize by the Swiss Confederation, the August Wilhelm von Hofmann Medal by the German Chemical Society, and the Heyrovsky Medal by the Czechoslovak Academy of Science. He held several endowed Lectureships, such as the Baker Lectureship at Cornell University and the Dozor Lecture Series at the Ben Gurion University. He is member of several learned societies, including the Gottingen Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. JACK D. DUNITZ was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1923. After studying chemistry at Glasgow University, he held several research fellowships at Oxford University, California Institute of Technology (Pasadena), U.S National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, and the Royal Institution, London, before taking up a Professorship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, a post that he held until his retirement in 1990. He has also held Visiting Professorships at several Universities and is the author of about 300 scientific papers, in addition to the book X--Ray Analysis and the Structure of Organic Molecules, based on his series of Baker Lectures given at Cornell University in 1976. He was awarded the Paracelsus Medal by the Swiss Chemical Society in 1986, the Gregori Aminoff Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1990, and is member of several learned societies, including the Royal Society, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the Academia Europaea. The authors first met at the California Institute of Technology in 1950, where they shared an office and have been working on this book ever since.