If you place a ball on the top of a perfectly symmetric hill, it shouldn’t move. At least, not if you’re a theoretical physicist. In practice, we all know the ball will ‘choose’ a side. So, nature breaks symmetry. How do physicists deal with symmetry breaking in nature and what does this mean for biologists?

In this episode we talk with scientist Philip Kidd, visiting student in Dr. Eric D. Sigga’s Laboratory of Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics. He tells us about the symmetry of physics, and how it translates to the natural world (or doesn’t).

Further reading

a review of biological symmetry breaking from NCBI
a video of a hydra cut in half and then regenerating
our first podcast, on DEET and mosquitoes

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Image courtesy of DOE joint genome institute.

 

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