Symmetry, Proportion and Seriality: The Semantics of Mirroring and Repetition in Science and the Arts#

The panels, which follow the plenary addresses in Sections I, II and III, are intended as forums for open debate between the panellists and the audience. The brief outline below is accordingly intended only as an opening gambit and as a suggestion regarding possible discussion topics.


When perceiving and constructing the world around us, symmetries are fundamental structural elements which guarantee stability, predictability, interpretability. The attempt to understand the world has therefore long been guided by the quest for symmetries, eventually even by enforcing them as a construction principle. However, such a program is under permanent challenge by the world's apparent tendency for constant change and transformation, and quantum mechanics (or, at least, its wide-spread current understanding) tells us that the material world is fundamentally much less determined than our senses suggest to us. Indeed, randomness, chance, chaos and uncertainty are constitutive ingredients of such change, and therefore can be considered as driving forces and essential sources of evolution, pattern formation, and beauty. We will scrutinize the present understanding of the mutual roles of symmetry, chance and uncertainty in the arts and sciences, for their diverse interpretations of the world, and for various concepts to shape it.

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