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Magic Cylinder: Kaleidoscope

infinite axial symmetry elements
What is it about?

When you look into a kaleidoscope, you see a seemingly chaotic pattern. But it's much clearer once you realize that you're looking at repetitions of the same image, which are reflected by the mirrors in the kaleidoscope.

How do scientists use this knowledge?

Theoretical physicists at the Centre for Advanced Radiation Technology study the behaviour of elementary particles on the atomic and subatomic scale. Some particles exert a strong pull on each other, some exert a weak pull, and others (photons) exchange light particles. Three types of symmetry are involved in this: reflection symmetry (a universe as seen in a mirror could exist), time symmetry (time could run in reverse) and material symmetry (every particle has an antiparticle).

Kaleidoscope. Photo: Elco van der Meer.
Kaleidoscope. Photo: Elco van der Meer.

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Last modified:06 October 2017 3.58 p.m.
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