Delving into the wonders of symmetry

  • Date

    Fri 23 Feb 18


Research delving deeper into understanding the mathematical theory behind symmetry is the focus of a new project at Essex.

Dr Gerald Williams, from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, has secured funding from the Leverhulme Trust for the three-year project – one of only ten maths Research Project Grants it awarded in 2017.

The research will focus on the foundational mathematics of group theory, which is a branch of algebra that can be used to understand symmetry in any context – from crystals in nature, elementary particles in physics and the work by Dutch graphic artist Escher.

“Symmetry is everywhere in the universe and to understand symmetry you have to understand group theory,” explained Dr Williams, who has been working in the area for several years. “There is a real beauty in the way this type of mathematics works and recent developments in this field present lots of exciting directions of research.

“Thanks to this Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant we have the opportunity to explore an insufficiently charted region of group theory that we believe is rich in treasures which will deepen our understanding of this aspect of mathematics.”

The Leverhulme Trust awards funding across academic disciplines, supporting talented individuals in the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences to realise their personal vision in research and professional training.