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From the Publisher'István and Magdolna Hargittai have written a dazzling book on symmetry in all its complex and beautiful variety, especially on its central role in today's science. ... It is a delight to read and ponder, sure to become a classic reference on a concept as fundamental to physics and chemistry as it has always been to aesthetics.'
Martin Gardner, Formerly of Scientific American, author of The New Ambidextrous Universe
'The book departs from the standard types of history in that it brings in the personalities of the people who have made great advances in our understanding of structures, inorganic, organic, and biological The stories bring out the personal side of scientific discoveries with the hurdles, obstacles, side steps, and controversies; and this makes for a most lively book quite different from a more conventional academic history of the subjects tackled. ... The book can appeal to a wide range of readers who are guaranteed not to find a dull page.'
Sir Aaron Klug, Nobel Laureate, President of the Royal Society (London)
'A book which should fascinate every reader.'
Torvald Laurent, Chairman of Trustees, Nobel Foundation, Skholm
'An informative and highly original account ... in terms of the people who made the big conceptual advances. Kepler, Fuller, Pauling, Bernal, Curie, Kroto ... all come to life in this unusual and effective synthesis of science and biographical journalism. The authors' love of their topics shines through on every page. Marvelous!'
Ian Stewart, Scientific American
'István and Magdolna Hargittai have written a richly textured and entertaining work based on a personal curiosity about the role of symmetry in life, and particularly in the sciences. ... The topics are as varied as the science itself. Anyone reading it will never again look on science, art, or nature with quite the same eyes.'
Sir John Cornforth, Nobel Laureate, University of Sussex, England
'They follow, in fascinating detail, lines of development where the relaxation of an imposed or imagined symmetry has led to the deepening of scientific insight... There is always a wonderful interplay between scientific and artistic endeavors... The story is fascinatingly instructive, and displays scintillating gems of scientific thought. Written by avid collectors of oral history, the book includes lengthy quotations from interviews with contemporary scientists, some evidently published here for the first time. These quotations bring the story to life, and generate insights that could not be gained from reading the scientific literature... Each chapter is dedicated to an iconic figure of science and art, and contains a series of linked short essays. Like the faces of a polyhedron, the subject matter of one essay fits closely to several others, and the authors have personally chosen a structure that is fascinatingly non-symmetrical.'
Nature (August 2000)