symmetry


Symmetry                                                               Society (ISIS–Symmetry)

Symmetry as a phenomenon has been present in any human activity since the origins. Symmetry has been widely known as a central concept in science since ancient times and played a key role in various fields of art. Symmetry, or the lack of symmetry, also fulfils an important methodological function in modern art and science. Inspired by various cultural traditions, symmetry can bridge different branches of art and science, and thus avoid overspecialization. This process, matured by the end of the 1980s, became the starting point of a remarkable intellectual movement (cf., D. Nagy’s “Manifesto on (dis)symmetry”, Symmetry: Culture and Science, The Quarterly of ISIS-Symmetry, Vol. 1 [1990], No. 1, pp. 3-28):

A lot of efforts have been made for several years to make an organizational framework for this significant interdisciplinary and intercultural field, which has long traditions in both the world's and the Hungarian art and science, but which has gained special importance just in recent years. The International Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Symmetry (ISIS-Symmetry or shortly ISIS), founded in Budapest in 1989, provides a central forum for these activities. ISIS-Symmetry comprises several branches of art and science, while symmetry studies have gained the rank of an interdisciplinary field in the judgment of the scientific community. The Society has members in all continents, in over forty countries. This movement started from Hungary not by chance. The study of symmetry was pioneered in several disciplines by Hungarian or Hungarian-born intellectuals, for example, the Hungarian geometrical school; the circle of E. P. Wigner, who received the Nobel-prize for his symmetry related discoveries in physics; and recently several acknowledged achievements and interdisciplinary publications in the related fields of chemistry, crystallography, and brain research. In modern art one can mention the Hungarian professors of the Bauhaus, the symmetric motifs of Bartók's music (and the related musicological studies of E. Lendvai), the artistic activity of the Hungarian-born Victor Vasarely (France), Pierre Szekely (France), and Gyorgy Kepes (U.S.A.), and, more recently, the Hungarian school of organic architecture.


Illustration: Geometrical structures in the long-time relations of the movements of the massive planets Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune

(Courtesy by Hartmut Warm, Hamburg, Germany).