Symmetry is what we see at a glance; based on the fact that there is no reason for any difference. Pascal
We love patterns. We build our houses following a pattern. We make our dresses following a contour or model. The nature around us also follows formats and likeness. The bees make their honeycombs in hexagonal shapes. The stars, the moon, and the sun also form a specific shape. Could it be that we live in a symmetrical world?
Being symmetrical means having similarities in size, appearance, and relative position of corresponding parts. Symmetry is everywhere around us and whenever it is missing, we can tell immediately that something is not there. Symmetry represents order and we crave order in the universe we find ourselves in.
Many things around us are symmetrical and the closest example that we have is ourselves. Looking at ourselves in the mirror is a definition of symmetry. If we think of an imaginary line running through the mid of our body, it would divide our body into two similar and equal parts. We would have one eye, ear, hand, and leg carefully located on each part. Most animals and insects also follow the same pattern. Even the earth is divided into two hemispheres with an imaginary line called the equator. So, is there a pattern in all these?
Don’t confuse symmetry with balance. Tom Robbins
What is the universe?
When we talk about the universe we talk about everything that exists everywhere. We talk about our planet and the big blue sky; the twinkling stars at night as far as your eyes could see, and everything beyond them. If it is true that there are aliens living in space, their home would also be part of the universe. The universe is so huge that wrapping your head around it might be impossible… 🤔
This is what we are trying to examine – if there is a pattern in the universe just as we have around us.
Can we make a pattern out of a chaotic world?
Maybe symmetry is only limited to a few things and not the entire world? If you look at the oceans, the valleys, the mountains, and the trees, you may not see any reasonable pattern from them. If you look further into space you would see clusters of stars, asteroids, comets, and other celestial bodies. It doesn’t make much sense to think that there would be a pattern in such a world.
The bigger picture and the Big Bang
We may not be able to judge if the universe is symmetrical or not if we are not looking at the bigger picture. Let’s assume we can step out of the universe and observe it from a far distance. Well, that would be impossible because the universe is everything that exists everywhere… 😶 But we could get a bigger picture from the observable universe! The observable universe is as far as we have seen of the universe either from the earth or from celestial observations. On a larger scale, the disorder lessens and patterns begin to form again.
The galaxies have a pattern connected through some sort of strange force known as dark matter. Although this force cannot be seen, it can be measured through its interaction with gravity. I think the Bang Bang theory could help us understand this better. 📚☕️
The Big Bang Theory helps us understand how the universe started. First was an initial state of high density and temperature, then was a sudden expansion that happened within a fraction of a second (or less). After that, the universe cooled down and allowed the formation of sub-particles that formed the stars and galaxies.
The Big Bang depends on two assumptions:
- physical laws are the same everywhere
- the universe is homogenous and isotropic.
In the 1960s, two scientists discovered a blanket of microwaves that seem to originate from everywhere in the sky. They are like relics from the beginning of the early stage of the universe about 300,000 years ago. That may look like a lot of time but considering that the universe itself is 13.8 billion years, it is very early.
These waves are evenly distributed and they confirm the homogeneity and isotopy of the universe. Based on this evidence, the universe appears to be symmetrical on a larger scale, but is it symmetrical everywhere? We don’t know… The work is still ongoing and there are a lot of secrets to be revealed.
Why are we attracted to symmetry? Why do we human beings delight in seeing perfectly round planets through the lens of a telescope and six-sided snowflakes on a cold winter day? The answer must be partly psychological. I would claim that symmetry represents order, and we crave order in this strange universe we find ourselves in.
Written by AARON BOLUWATIFE
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