Symmetries and asymmetries affect wide areas of human culture and play an equally significant role in the natural sciences, in mathematics, in art, music, technology, architecture, and in intellectual and cultural history. Hence does the spectrum of the 14 specialized lectures of this year´s Annual Assembly of the Leopoldina range from the investigation of symmetries in morality to the symmetries of the cosmos through to the emergence of cancer because of disturbances in the physiological equilibrium during the wound healing process.
In his keynote lecture on Friday, the philosopher Prof. Dieter Birnbacher (Universität Düsseldorf) will examine „Breaches of symmetry in morality“. One of the highlights is the Friday evening lecture by the astrophysicist Prof. Günther Hasinger (USA) entitled “Is the Sky Symmetrical?”, in which Hasinger probes the symmetries in the cosmos. Also among the lecturers of this year`s Annual Assembly is physicist Prof. Daniel Shechtman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2011 for the development of quasicrystals.
Leopoldina member Prof. Martin Quack (Zurich) proposed the Annual Assembly’s topic and formulated the programme jointly with a team drawn from all the Leopoldina´s specialized sections. He will speak on Friday about the reflection symmetry of space and its importance for research in physics, chemistry and molecular biology.