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Conservation laws are among the most important tools in physics. They feel as fundamental as you can get. And yet they’re wrong – or at least they’re only right sometimes. These laws are consequences of a much deeper, more fundamental principle: Noether’s theorem.
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How Gaia Changed Astronomy Forever
Conservation laws are the cheat codes of physics. They make it possible to solve physics problems that would otherwise be painfully difficult, or even impossible. More than cheat codes – conservation laws are close to the source code – they emerge from profound and simple truths about the basis of reality. They emerge from the fundamental symmetries of nature. The connection between conservation laws and symmetry is encapsulated in Noether’s theorem. But before we dive into this extremely elegant idea, let’s talk about the seeming paradox that inspired it, and the genius who discovered it.
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