So, we’ve got a project about SYMMETRY, but just what is symmetry?
Does it just mean a ‘reflection’ of what you see on one side? Here’s a bit more info to help guide the way you look at the world and take photographs for the project.
Now, symmetry in mathematics, physics, geometry and aesthetics has a number of definitions, but lets keep it simple.
The kind of symmetry that we’re most accustomed to is “Reflection”. Along with reflection, the four kinds of symmetry that we most commonly deal with are:
- Reflection Symmetry
- Rotational Symmetry
- Translational Symmetry
- Glide Reflection Symmetry
Reflection is what you see in a mirror. The regular layman’s understanding of the word reflection… If a line were drawn (usually vertically) through the axis of the symmetry, each feature or point on one side would be equally distant on the other side of the axis.
Rotational Symmetry is what you see when a shape or pattern is rotated around a point (also called the origin). To observe it, take a look at earthen pottery or even just a circular plate.
Translational Symmetry is simple to show, but a little complicated to explain. It is as if an object has been slid along a plane. It is not flipped, or rotated about an axis; rather it is as if a duplicate of the object has been created.
Glide Reflection Symmetry
A good example of Glide Reflection Symmetry are animal tracks, or human footprints in sand. They are seemingly reflected, but also displaced along the axis.
Wikipedia lists other interesting forms of symmetry, and I encourage you to visit the page for more descriptive explanations. I find Scale Symmetry and Fractals to be of particular interest.
As always, feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you found this useful.