Research on Capitol Hill

Presenter and Co-Presenter(s)

Benjamin C. Lovelady, Utah State University

Faculty Mentor

Dr. James T. Wheeler


Modern physics is the study of symmetry. Everything from electromagnetism to the famed Higgs mechanism stems from fundamental symmetries. These have fancy mathematical names and even fancier math behind them, but the basic idea is the same. These are mathematical generalizations of normal transformations such as rotating. These symmetries describe fields (electric, magnetic, etc.).

Most models of unification, i.e. string theory, use "Poincare symmetry." This symmetry includes both translations and rotations. This means physics only cares about relative position, angle, velocity, etc. If I were to wake up in a windowless room that had been moved a mile north and rotated 90 degrees since going to sleep, I wouldn't notice a difference.

When this symmetry is broken into its mathematical essence, and certain assumptions are made, it turns into General Relativity. If there is another fundamental symmetry of the universe, perhaps it leads to new physics as well.

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Research On Capitol Hill 2016

Document Type


Publication Date


Included in

Physics Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.