HAPP One-Day Conference on "Symmetries in Physics"

On 19 November 2022, the St Cross Centre for the History and Philosophy of Physics (HAPP) held its second in-person event since the start of the pandemic, a one-day conference of "Symmetries in Physics". The day covered all aspects of symmetries from their emergence in classical physics in the opening talk, then an examination of related phenomena and ideas in Maxwell, Noether and Einstein, moving on to a summary of the theory for charge, parity and time reversal symmetry and the revelation that bananas emit anti-matter!

The afternoon talks discussed both hidden symmetries and broken symmetries, the latter being as important for life as their unbroken counterparts. The conference was also livestreamed to attendees from all around the world with nearly 500 viewings to date and over 200 attendees were present in person to hear the talks and Q&A discussions.

The lively Q&A sessions throughout the day after each talk saw dozens of questions from members of the audience with a dynamic summary given at the end of the day to bring together the various strands of the conference theme alongside a whistlestop tour of the mathematical role of symmetries.

This event connected the HAPP community once again and the livestreaming of the conference enabled those from outside Oxford and around the globe who have participated over the past two years in the online Zoom HAPP events to continue to engage with HAPP. The day was topped off with a special conference dinner held at St Cross College with a fascinating after-dinner talk by Professor Chris McManus from UCL, giving insights into the psychology of human perception of symmetry including several intriguing examples from the world of art.

The videos of all the conference talks are now available at https://www.stx.ox.ac.uk/event/symmetries-in-physics