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S Y
M M
E T R Y


Symmetry or asymmetry/dissymmetry as a phenomenon has been present in any human activity since the origins. Symmetry has been widely known as a central concept in science since ancient times, as well as played a key role in various fields of art. Symmetry, or the lack of symmetry, also fulfils an important methodological function in modern art and science. Inspired by various cultural traditions, from Europe to Africa and from the Far-East to America, symmetry can bridge different branches of science and art, as well as different human cultures, and thus avoid overspecialization and some related problems. This process, matured by the end of the 1980s, became the starting point of a remarkable intellectual movement (cf., Manifesto on (dis)symmetry, signed by the editors, in "Symmetry: Art and Science: The Quarterly of ISIS-Symmetry", Vol. 1 [1990], No. 1, pp. 3-26, in a more detailed form).

A lot of efforts have been made for several years to make an organizational framework for this significant interdisciplinary and intercultural field, namely symmetrology, which has long traditions in both the world's and the Hungarian science and culture, but which has gained special importance just in recent years.

The "International Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Symmetry" ("ISIS-Symmetry"), founded in 1989, provides a central forum for these activities. ISIS-Symmetry comprises several branches of science and art, while symmetry studies have gained the rank of an individual interdisciplinary field in the judgement of the scientific community. The Society has members in all continents, in over forty countries.

This movement started from Hungary not by chance. The study of symmetry was pioneered in several disciplines by Hungarian or Hungarian-born intellectuals, for example, the Hungarian geometrical school; the circle of E. P. Wigner, who received the Nobel-prize for his symmetry related discoveries in physics; and recently several acknowledged achievements and interdisciplinary publications in the related fields of chemistry and crystallography, as well as in brain research. In modern art one can mention the Hungarian professors of the Bauhaus, the symmetric motifs of Bartok's music, (and the related musicological studies of E. Lendvai), the artistic and pedagogic activity of the Hungarian-born Victor Vasarely (France), Pierre Szekely (France), and Gyorgy Kepes (U.S.A.).



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