Meaning of Symmetry

What is Symmetry:

Symmetry is called the exact correspondence that is verified in the shape, size and position of the parts of an object considered as a whole. The word comes from Latin symmetrĭa, and this in turn from the Greek συμμετρία (symmetry).

Symmetry, as such, is a concept related to different disciplines such as geometry, drawing, graphic design, architecture and the other arts. Likewise, we can find it sciences such as biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics.

Symmetry in Geometry

In Geometry, symmetry is called the exact correspondence that is recorded in the regular arrangement of the parts or points that make up a body or figure, considered in relation to a center, axis or plane. Thus, different types of symmetries are verified:

  • Spherical symmetry: it is one that occurs under any type of rotation.
  • Axial symmetry (also called rotational, radial or cylindrical): it is one that occurs from an axis, which means that any rotation produced from that axis does not lead to any change in position in space.
  • Reflective or specular symmetry: it is defined by the existence of a single plane where one half is the reflection of the other.
  • Translational or translational symmetry: it is the one that occurs in an object or figure when it is repeated at an always identical distance from the axis and along a line that can be placed in any position and that can be infinite.

Symmetry in Biology

In Biology, symmetry is called the correspondence that is recognized in the body of an animal or plant, taking as a point of reference a center, an axis or a plane, in relation to which the organs or equivalent parts are arranged in an orderly fashion. Most multicellular organisms have bodies where some form of symmetry is recognized, which, as such, can manifest itself in two ways:

  • Radial symmetry: it is that presented by organisms whose bodies can be divided by two or more planes. This type of organism has similar parts arranged around a common central axis, such as sea urchins or starfish.
  • Bilateral symmetry: that of organisms that can be divided into two equal halves, so that both halves form the same images, such as humans or dogs.

Symmetry and asymmetry

Asymmetry is the opposite of symmetry. As such, we can define it as the lack of correspondence or balance between the shape, size and position of the parts of a whole. Thus, asymmetry is manifested as the lack of equivalence between the features that make up the appearance of an object or figure.

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