JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
Richard Feynman wrote this about symmetry in section 52 of the first volume of his Lectures in Physics (1963) the three volumes now beautifully available online at CalTech here. The last two paragraphs are also quoted in Mario Livio's "The Equation that Couldn't Be Solved", Martin Gardiner in "The Ambidexterous Universe", and many other places, probably hundreds of times; I've included the previous two paragraphs for interest's sake. Feynman, the symmetry master, included a statement about a beautiful gate in "Neiko" Japan, which must "Nikko", though I can hardly identify the gate that he was talking about. There seem to be many--see the UNESCO Shrines and Temples of Nikko, here--though the candidate in my mind is the extraordinary Yomeimon gate, here.
52–9 Broken symmetries
"The next question is, what can we make out of laws which are nearly symmetrical? The marvelous thing about it all is that for such a wide range of important, strong phenomena—nuclear forces, electrical phenomena, and even weak ones like gravitation—over a tremendous range of physics, all the laws for these seem to be symmetrical. On the other hand, this little extra piece says, “No, the laws are not symmetrical!” How is it that nature can be almost symmetrical, but not perfectly symmetrical? What shall we make of this?..."