Tag Archives: symmetry

BB #82: Symmetry Breaking

In The Road to Reality (2004), Roger Penrose writes about a great analogy for symmetry breaking. Apparently, this analogy is rather common in the literature. (No, it’s not the thing about the pencil — this one involves an iron ball.) Once again, I find myself agreeing with Penrose about something; it is a great analogy.

Symmetry breaking (which can be explicit or spontaneous) is critical in many areas of physics. For instance, it’s instrumental in the Higgs mechanism that’s responsible for the mass of some particles.

The short post is for those interested in physics who (like I) have struggled to understand exactly what symmetry breaking is and why it matters.

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Ball Game Symmetry

Many of the fundamental laws of modern physics are based on laws of symmetry. (Which makes Emmy Noether a founder of modern physics.) Just as the Yin-Yang metaphor offers a way to view and deconstruct existence, symmetry is also a way to understand the world around us.

In the past (here and here, for instance) I’ve looked at various sports in abstract ways designed to bring out commonalities among groups of game types. (For instance, tennis, ping-pong, volley ball, badminton, squash, and racquetball, are all “volley” games with similar operation and constraints.)

Today I’m going to look at symmetry in various sports. As always, of course, focusing on baseball, because it’s so unique.

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