On Chirality and the Universal Asymmetry Reflections on Image and Mirror Image

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On Chirality and the Universal Asymmetry Reflections on Image and Mirror Image

On Chirality and the Universal Asymmetry: Reflections on Image and Mirror Image by Georges H. Wagnière
English | 2007-08-28 | ISBN: 3906390381 | 251 pages | PDF | 3,1 mb






Until half a century ago, it was assumed that the forces of nature were symmetric and that they did not distinguish between right and left, between image and mirror image. The discovery of the violation of parity in 1956 was more than a sensation, for some it was a shock. It implied that the universe displays handedness, or chirality, and that it is fundamentally asymmetric.

Remarkably, a most striking asymmetry is encountered in the realm of biology. Living organisms contain proteins built almost exclusively from L-amino acids, and nucleic acids derived from D-sugars only. Yet a mirror-image biochemistry, based on D-amino acids and L-sugars is, from a purely chemical standpoint, entirely conceivable. Where, then, does this extraordinary natural selectivity come from? Is it directly, or indirectly, connected to the universal violation of parity?

This book is meant as a brief review of the various manifestations of handedness, or chirality, in the universe. It does not attempt to present a solution to basic questions which perhaps will never be unambiguously and conclusively answered. Rather, it is an excursion through nature, to observe and recognize how the chirality manifests itself at different structural levels. The excursion starts in the chemistry and physics

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Tags: Chirality, Universal, Asymmetry, Reflections, Mirror

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