Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In physics and mathematics, mirror symmetry is a surprising relation that can exist between two Calabi-Yau manifolds. It happens, usually for two such six-dimensional manifolds, that the shapes may look very different geometrically, but nevertheless they are equivalent if they are employed as hidden dimensions of string theory. More specifically, mirror symmetry relates two manifolds M and W whose Hodge numbers
- h1,1 and h1,2
are swapped; string theory compactified on these two manifolds can be proved to be lead to identical physical phenomena.
The discovery of mirror symmetry is connected with names such as Brian Greene, Ronen Plesser, Philip Candelas, Monika Lynker, Rolf Schimmrigk and others. Andrew Strominger, Shing-Tung Yau, and Eric Zaslow have showed that mirror symmetry is a special example of T-duality: the Calabi-Yau manifold may be written as a fiber bundle whose fiber is a three-dimensional torus. The simultaneous action of T-duality on all three dimensions of this torus is equivalent to mirror symmetry.
Mirror symmetry allowed the physicists to calculate many quantities that seemed virtually incalculable before, by invoking the "mirror" description of a given physical situation, which can be often much easier. Mirror symmetry has also become a very powerful tool in mathematics, and the mathematicians have proved many rigorous theorems based on the mirror symmetry intuition.
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