Nanyang Technological University
and Coursera are proud to offer Beauty, Form & Function: An Exploration of
Symmetry that caters to both non-specialists via a non-academic credit on-demand version
) and specialists through this academic credit fixed-session version
. Below can be found the:
Syllabus • Grading Scheme • Recommended Readings •
Required Background • Essential Resources • Student Responsibility • FAQs
Symmetry is everywhere. In the
grand scheme of things it is the blueprint by which the universe operates. We
see symmetry in nature, art, architecture, science and engineering. This course
explores the Beauty, Form and Function of Symmetry in common objects, then
progresses to investigate tiling and tessellation, gems and crystals, and
finally its indispensable role in technology.
Symmetry and asymmetry are also key factors that ensure the successful
reproduction of plants and animals. For example, the bilateral symmetry of
orchids is widely admired and this geometry is essential for insects to pollinate
Duration: 8 weeks
Time Commitment: 7-10 hours per
Target Group: Scientists and
Engineers (current and prospective NTU students)
Recognition: Verified Certificate through Signature Track enrollment
NTU Academic Units: Verified
Certificate Students earn 3 Academic Units
NTU Course Type: Unrestricted Elective or General Elective
This course gives you the means to address several fundamental questions.
- What tags do we recognize in decorative arrangements?
- What guidelines shape the patterns in the world around us?
- What functions do these symmetrical patterns serve?
- How are drug and materials design engineered through
atomic scale symmetry?
- How is the internal
arrangement of atoms reflected by crystal faceting?
- How does symmetry manipulation create polytypes, polymorphs and polysomes?
To amplify these ideas, you will
undertake field-exercises and be introduced to specialists - botanists,
artists, geomancers, historians, scientists and engineers - that work with
symmetry, and who will provide their personal insights into its ‘magic’ and
impact on their disciplines.
The option of earning AUs is open
to all students. It is not necessary to be already enrolled at NTU. Once earned, the AUs remain valid for 3
This is a challenging course with 65% of students rating the material
as Difficult to Very Difficult, but many find the subject matter