day 12: the mathematician, the open field


The Mathematician, the Open Field


Human bodies and faces look almost the same as their reflections.

Geometry of the rainbow. Symmetries of an ellipse.

Waves rolling up the beach are not precisely identical:

for example, gentle ripples on a very calm sea.


What about the humble tetrahedron? We examine each of its lattices,

the arrangement of many separate faces. It is all fairly straightforward:

the black squares of a chessboard. The conditions of the puzzle.

The total number of rearrangements, the take apart


and reassembling. All the same, it became clear:

fields pervade the whole of space. Particles are tiny clumps

of field. Fields are seething masses of particles.


The field is like an ocean. The particle

a solitary wave.


Lines taken from Ian Stewart’s Symmetry (Oxford University Press, 2013).

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