CS 39R:  Symmetry & Topology
Lecture #3 -- Mon. 2/8, 2016.

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Bring along a couple of objects with some higher-order 3D symmetry.
Try to find all its symmetry operations: rotation axes, mirror- and glide-planes.

Determine for each which symmetry group from these two charts it belongs to: chart 1chart 2.


Identify the symmetry classes for the following depicted objects:


Also:  Discuss with your neighbors the symmetry of the objects that you brought along.
(See posters on the wall!)

A Key Point: Any finite physical object falls into one of the 14 symmetry classes described in: chart 1 and  chart 2.

How to determine the symmetry group of an object:

Find a maximal-valence rotation axis, make it the z-axis, go to chart 1,
look for C2 axes perpendicular to it, also for mirror planes, ...
If you find more than one rotation axis with valence >= 3, go to chart 2
5-fold axes ==> icosa/dodeca; 
4-fold axes at right angles ==> cube/octa, ...
the difficult one (for me) is the oriented double tetrahedron;
      the 3 mirror planes transform one (right-handed) tetrahedron into the other (left-handed) one.

Let's review (and count) the elements of some symmetry groups:

REVIEW:  the required properties to make this a group:
: A,B ==> AB, BA;   --- All combinations of operations are also elements of the group.
:  (AB)C = A(BC);  --- The order in which elements are combined may matter, but the sequence in which the combinations are calculated does not.
: IA = AI = A;  --- The identity element makes no change.
:  A ==> A-1:  AA-1 = A-1A = I };  --- for every element there is also an inverse element; an element may be its own inverse.

==> Now let's apply this to some of the symmetry classes we have encountered: 

-- The simplest possible frieze with an asymmetrical fundamental domain (repetitive element); translatory symmetry only:
    This is equivalent to the group formed by all integer numbers!  (e.g., right shift = "+1")  {infinitely many elements!}

-- The 2D square  or {D4} hubcap:  {8 elements};
-- The thick 3D square plate {D4h}
:  {16 elements};
-- Permutation of 4 books on a shelf  {mathematicians call this "S4"}
:  {24 elements};
-- All symmetry operations on a tetrahedron
:  {24 elements};  {when "oriented": only 12 elements}

-- The octahedron (==> see plexiglass model);  == same as a cube:  {48 elements};

A more complicated structure:

"Rainbow-Bits" by George Hart -- a Propellerized Icosahedron

It has oriented icosidodecaheral symmetry; no mirror planes.

The Platonic Solids:

Tetrahedron, cube (hexahedron), octahedron, dodecahedron, icosahedron.
(Could you explain to a high-school student why there are exactly (and only) five Platonic Solids ?


Why does an ordinary wall mirror reverse left and right, but not up and down ?

Visualization of Symmetry Groups Using Shape Generator Programs

Understanding Chart I:  with "Sculpture Generator I{The program for you to experiment with}

7 families of rotational groups based on the 7 friezes wrapped around a cylinder: Cn, Dn, S2n, Dnd, Cnh, Cnv. Dnh.

Understanding Chart II:  with "Escher Sphere Editor" {The program for you to experiment with}

7 groups of "really 3D" symmetries based on the Platonic and Archimedean solids.

Jane Yen and C. H. Séquin: "Escher Sphere Construction Kit" Presentation at I3D conference (PPT)

A First Glimpse of Topology:

The  genus  of simple "handle-bodies"  (g=1;  g=2;  g=3;  g=7).
These are all equivalent definitions of "genus" (in this particular context):
How many tunnels are there through this (volumetric) body?
How many handles are attached to a simple spherical blob?
How many closed boundary loops can be drawn on this surface that do not yet partition it into separate regions?
         (You can still go from any point to any other point without crossing any of those boundary loops).

New Homework Assignments:

Due: Feb. 22, 2016

Design a genus-6 object of high symmetry:
Present your design as a physical model, using: clay, paper, styro-foam, pipe cleaners, . . .,   or as a computer model;   or as a very nice drawing.
Be prepared to tell us what its symmetry is.

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