Beauty, Form & Function: An Exploration of Symmetry

开始时间: 待定 持续时间: Unknown

所在平台: Coursera

课程类别: 信息,技术与设计

大学或机构: Nanyang Technological University(南洋理工大学)

授课老师: Tim White



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Symmetry is everywhere, in the hard sciences, in the arts, in nature and in our everyday life. This course explores the beauty, form and function of symmetry in our life, be it, architecture, common objects, nature and crystals. A hike in the forest or a walk along the beach reveal an endless variety of forms. Nature abounds with a spectrum of intricate shapes - undulating ripples of desert dune and the intriguing path traced by the honey bee. Besides nature, architectural design and common objects, crystals also display symmetrical patterns that not only delight imagination but also challenge our understanding. These seemingly unrelated things in our life are connected by this idea of SYMMETRY. How do we recognise these patterns? What sorts of rules and guidelines (symmetry operators) shape the patterns in the world around us? What functions do these symmetrical patterns serve?

Some patterns seems easy to explain. Of course, not all patterns are obvious, for examples, the pattern of veins on a leaf, growth of lichen on the surface of a stone, spread of modern cities and incommensurate crystal structures. Many of these patterns, however, are not simply random. They often display an underlying structure, a pattern that can be mathematically described. We will not only view these patterns/forms based on what  we can see with our naked eyes but can also patterns that we cannot see with our naked eyes. In particular, we will be discovering the beauty, form and function of symmetry in crystal structure at microscopic level, and appreciate its importance in the areas of drug synthesis, material synthesis, data storage facilities, etc.

After this course, we will be looking at symmetrical patterns in nature, architecture, common objects and crystals with greater delight, wonder and appreciation!


Part I : Basic Concepts of Symmetry

Week 1 
Lecture 1: Recognising Symmetry Around Us

Week 2
Lecture 2: Understanding the Unit Cell
Lecture 3: Nature of Chirality

By the end of Part I:
MCQ Quiz 1 - individual work (20%)
Open-ended Assignment 1 - individual work, assess by peers (5%)
Practising Peer Critique of a scientific article pp 889 - 893

Part II : Symmetry in 2D and 3D

Week 3
Lecture 4: Plane Groups
Lecture 5: Nets

Week 4:
Lecture 6: Space Symmetry

By the end of Part II:
MCQ Quiz 2 - individual work (20%)
Open-ended Assignment 2 (5%)

Part III: Symmetry in Crystal Structure

Week 5:
Lecture 7: Atoms in Crystal Structure
Lecture 8: Polyhedral Properties

Week 6
Lecture 9: Planes, Directions and Unit Cell

By the end of Part III:
MCQ Quiz 3 - individual work (20%)
Open-ended Assignment 3: Critiquing a scientific article pp 893 - 897 - group work, assess by peers from other groups (5%)

Part IV: Symmetry and Technology

Week 7:
Lecture 10: Trends and Substitutions
Lecture 11: Building Complex Structure

Week 8
Lecture 12: Technological Implications

By the end of Part IV:
MCQ Quiz 4 - individual work (20%)
Open-ended Assignment 4 (5%)






Students will learn how to identify symmetrical form and appreciate its importance in nature and technology through specific examples at macro and microscopic levels.