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. SYMMETRION
... THE INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED SYMMETRY STUDIES





"Symmetrion" is an independent, international, advanced study institute, founded and maintained by the "International Symmetry Foundation", and is associated with the Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest.

It aims at promoting interdisciplinary and holistic studies, bridging different disciplines, science and art, and different cultures, as well as making the public acquainted with the related recent achievements.


"Symmetrion" was established to implement the objectives of the "Symmetry Foundation". According to the aims of the "Foundation", the following projects have been performed or launched:

  • (1.1) "Symmetrion" has been functioning since early 1991. It is to be organized like the world-wide acknowledged Advanced Study Institutes. According to a special bilateral agreement, Symmetrion is associated with the Faculty of Sciences of the Eotvos Lorand University Budapest, and formed a "Joint Research Group" with the Department of General Technics.

    In order to promote research, a specialized documentation center, the "Symmetrotheca" has been set up, collecting publications or their reprints, which are nowhere available in such a composition. (Symmetry related publications are spread in many different disciplinary journals, where could not be followed by all who are interested in the cross-disciplinary applications of symmetry or symmetry breaking.) The collection of the "Symmetrotheca" is increasing every day, and is containing several thousand items.

  • (1.2) - (1.3) "ISIS-Symmetry" encourages its members all over the world to perform interdisciplinary research, to submit interdisciplinary and cross-cultural art-science proposals to different funding agencies, and takes part itself in the execution of such projects. "Symmetrion" pro- vides a forum for the discussion, introduction, teaching, exhibition, documentation, and publication of achievements, (see below under paragraphs (2), (3), and (4)).

  • (1.4) "Symmetrion", as an Advanced Studies Institute - inviting sponsors - intends to offer a few grants yearly. This fellowship program aims at interdisciplinary research `bridging': (a) different disciplines, (b) science and art, and (c) different cultures.


  • (2.1) Following the congresses in Budapest, 1989 (Symmetry of Structure), Hiroshima, 1992 (Symmetry of Patterns), and Washington, 1995 (Symmetry: Natural and Artificial, the program included also the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the birth of L. Moholy-Nagy and the 10th anniversary of the first publication of the discovery of real quasicrystals), regular triennial international sym- metry congresses are planned (the next one in Haifa, 1998). In the years between these comprehensive congresses, partly regional, partly specialized meetings are organized (similar to the 1987, 1988, and 1990 symmetry conferences in Arizona) or co-organized, like the Symmetry in Modern Crystallography symposium in Leningrad, 1991, the Philosophy of Mathematics Today conference in Budapest, 1993, the Symmetry and Structure: Dialogue among Disciplines symposium in Suva, Fiji, 1993, the Golden Section and Problems of the Harmony of Systems in Stavropol, 1994, the Katachi [Form] U Symmetry conference in Tsukuba, 1994, the 2nd Conference on the Foundations of Information Science in Vienna, 1996, the Mathematics and Arts conference in Suzdal, 1996, and the History of Symmetry session in Liege, 1997.

    Similar to the first Symmetry Circle in Budapest, satellite circles have been organized in several cities of the world. Involving scientists and artists, they provide a wide forum for discussion and lecture series for the general public - promoting interdisciplinary understanding. The Budapest Symmetry Circle had, e.g., - over dozens of local invited speakers, - lecturers from Germany, Japan, Portugal, Russia.

  • (2.2) "ISIS-Symmetry" follows the established tradition to organize exhibitions related to its meetings (Symmetry/Asymmetry exhibitions in Budapest, 1989, including the main event in the National Gallery of Budapest [former Royal Palace], Symmetry of Patterns at the Synergetics Institute of Japan in Hiroshima, 1992, Form and Symmetry, University of Tsukuba, 1994, Ars Scientifica, in Alexandria VA, and Washington D.C. in the Atrium of AAAS, 1995.)

    Over this tradition, a regular exhibition series, Ars (Dis)Symmetrica, has been organized, first in 1993, Budapest. The first exhibition took place in the Water-tower Gallery on the Margaret Isle, Budapest, June - July, 1993. The A(D)S exhibitions emphasize the relation of the sciences and the arts. The main patron of the 1993 exhibition Ars (Dis)Symmetrica was the Deputy Mayor of the city Budapest. "ISIS-Symmetry" acted as co-organizer of the Buckminster Fuller centennial exhibition series held in New York, 1995-96.

    Some meetings are accompanied by 'artistic festivals', representing several branches of the arts. All these programs provide forums for dialogues among artists and scientists.


  • (3.1) A special course on symmetry has been held for several years at the Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest. There is a real need for university level teaching of an artistic, scientific, and cultural bridging (inter)discipline. Symmetrion's regular undergraduate science-art inter-faculty program in English, containing module blocks which can be implemented at most universities, has been elaborated, based on the experience gained during this special course. The pilot program is given at the Faculty of Sciences of the Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest.

  • (3.1-3.3) "Symmetrion" launched its first project which aimed to develop an international and interdisciplinary art- science training program, supplementing the General Studies and STS (Science, Technology, Society) programs of various universities. The "B.U.D.A.P.E.S.T." project: setting up the Budapest Unit for Developing an Advanced Program for European Symmetry Training. This project was sponsored by the Commission of the European Communities.

  • (3.3) Textbooks and other teaching materials, such as computer and video/audio programs, slides, catalogues, etc. are developed by the members of "ISIS-Symmetry". They are to be published by "Symmetrion".


  • (4.1) "Symmetry: Culture and Science", started in 1990, is an intercultural and interdisciplinary journal, edited by the Board of ISIS-Symmetry and published by the "Symmetry Foundation". It meets the need to build bridges ("symmetries") between various fields of arts and sciences. Papers are addressed to a broad non-specialist public, without becoming too general, and have an interdisciplinary character, through either describing concrete interdisciplinary 'bridges' between different fields of art, science, and technology using the concept of symmetry, or surveying the importance of symmetry (or the lack of symmetry) in a concrete field with an emphasis on possible 'bridges' to other fields. "Symmetry: Culture and Science" is published quarterly, in format B5, on 7 sheets (112 pages) each. Copies can be found in over forty countries, in five continents.

  • (4.2) Extended abstracts - in some cases proceedings - of most meetings of ISIS-Symmetry are published, cf. Darvas, G., Nagy, D., eds., (1989) Symmetry of Structure, Extended Abstracts, Budapest: ISIS-Symmetry, Vols. I and II, 656 p.; Ogawa, T., Miura, K., Masunari, T., and Nagy, D., eds, (1996) Katachi U Symmetry, Tokyo: Springer-Verlag, 417 p.; Agazzi, E., Darvas G., eds., (1997) Philosophy of Mathematics Today, Episteme 22 (series ed., M. Bunge), Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, xxix + 361 p.; Darvas, G., Nagy, D. and Pardavi-Horvath, M., eds., (1995) Symmetry: Natural and Artificial, Extended Abstracts, Symmetry: Culture and Science, 1-4 (Special Issues), 1-676.

  • (4.3) Further volumes are planned to be edited on special subjects, similar to the so far published collections of essays Symmetry in a Kaleidoscope (1990), Symmetry and Topology in Evolution (1993), Fractals (1993), Origami (1994, introducing the effects of the art and skill of Japanese paper folding on science, architecture and Western culture), Symmetry in Music (1994, 1996), Symmetry and Information (1996, 1997). Further works, manuscripts, achievements, etc. produced in the framework of Symmetrion's programs will also be published.

  • (4.4) Textbooks, audio-visual teaching aids, etc. (mentioned in paragraph (3.3)) are to be published to assist Symmetrion's postgraduate schools and the undergraduate university program. They aim at spreading interdisciplinary approach and avoiding professional overspecialization.

  • (4.5) "Symmetrion" can fulfil its cultural mission, provided that scientific and artistic programs are balanced in its activity. This is reflected in its publication policy, according to which the editing of the catalogues of its exhibitions and the introduction of artists professing link between science and art, play an equal role with the scientific publications. The catalogue of the Ars (Dis)Symmetrica '93 was published in 1994.


    The name of the Institute, "Symmetrion", refers to the Greek origin of the term symmetry: sym-metria.



    INTRO
    SYMMETRY
    SOCIETY
    ARTICLES
    FOUNDATION
    QUARTERLY