Invited paper for presentation at "Tetrahedral Carbon's 125th Anniversary Symposium" (Cosponsored with HIST, Invited Papers Only), Division of Organic Chemistry, The 218th ACS national meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 22-26, 1999.

Ugly symmetry

Shu-Kun Lin, lin@mdpi.org, http://mdpi.org/lin/, MDPI, Molecular Diversity Preservation International, Sangergasse 25, Basel CH-4054 Switzerland

"Symmetry is beauty" or "symmetry is a measure of beauty" as a scientific conception is very misleading and wrong. Symmetry is in principle ugly because it is associated with the information loss or entropy increase, based on my new theory, mainly the logarithmic relations of entropy and symmetry for both static and dynamic systems and the similarity principle (see papers listed at http://www.mdpi.org/lin/lin-rpu.htm, particularly Lin, S. -K. Correlation of Entropy with Similarity and Symmetry. J. Chem. Inf. Comp. Sci., 1996, 36, 367-376). The Greek word symmetry means the "sameness measure". It is therefore closely related to distinguishability or similarity. Symmetric structure is stable but not necessarily beautiful. All spontaneous processes lead to the highest symmetry which is the equilibrium or a state of "death". Life is beautiful but full of asymmetry. It has certain symmetry for the stability reason. It has been shown by the history of chemical science and demonstrated by the modern arts of chemistry, particularly the organic synthesis, that chemists endeavor to seek for asymmetry related to both structure and process, not at all for symmetry.


 A nontechnical summary (http://www.mdpi.org/lin/uglysymnews.htm) of this invited talk.