A Conceptual History of Space and Symmetry: From Plato to the Superworld (Paperback)
This book presents the author's personal historical perspective and conceptual analysis on symmetry and geometry. The author enlightens with modern views the historical process which led to the contemporary vision of space and symmetry that are used in theoretical physics and in particular in such abstract and advanced descriptions of the physical world as those provided by supergravity. The book is written intertwining storytelling and philosophical argumentation with some essential technical material.
The author argues that symmetry and geometry are inextricably entangled and their current meaning is the result of a long process of abstraction which was determined through history and can be understood within the analytic system of thought of western civilization that started with the Ancient Greeks. The evolution of geometry and symmetry theory in the last forty years has been deeply and constructively influenced by supersymmetry/supergravity and the allied constructions of strings and branes. Further advances in theoretical physics cannot be based simply on the Galilean method of interrogating nature and then formulating a testable theory to explain the observed phenomena. One ought to interrogate human thought, meaning frontier-line mathematics concerned with geometry and symmetry in order to find there the threads of so far unobserved correspondences, reinterpretations and renewed conceptions.