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Public lecture on Escher and the Droste effect

12 June 2012

On Tuesday 19 June, Dr Bart de Smit of the Mathematical Institute of Leiden University will give a public lecture (admission free) in the Academy Building of the University of Groningen on the lithograph ‘De Prentententoonstelling’ [The Print Gallery] by M.C. Escher. In it a man in a gallery is looking at a print that contains the gallery itself – the Droste effect, but in a very strange distortion. Escher’s work is often used by physicists to illustrate the effects of different types of symmetry.

The lecture forms part of the major international ‘Symposium on Symmetries in Subatomic Physics’, which is being organized next week in the Remonstrantse Kerk in Groningen by the KVI (Kernfysisch Versneller Instituut) of the University of Groningen.

The symposium will only interest physicists specialized in nuclear physics, but for those who would like to know more about the role that different types of symmetry play in physics, KVI students have made a short film that can be seen on YouTube. They use the revolving door of the KVI building to demonstrate that, when you apply three different types of symmetry (reflection symmetry, charge exchange and time reversal) one after the other, you end up back where you started.

- Bart de Smit’s lecture on Escher will be given in English. Time and location: Tuesday 19 June, 8.30-9.30 p.m., Senaatszaal, Academy Building, Broerstraat 5, Groningen. The doors open at 8.15 p.m.
- The YouTube film on symmetry can be seen at:
- Further information about the symposium can be found at:

Note for the press

More information: Prof. H. Wilschut

Last modified:10 January 2018 3.22 p.m.
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