Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Symmetry Prozac


Molecular symmetry has newer been my strong suit. I do fairly well with C1, but my palms already get sweaty at Cs, and upper-lip-trembling and not-so-silent whimpering occurs with any point group involving a sigma-h plane ("what is that sound ...?"). S2? Don't go there.

So you can imagine I was delighted to find Dean Johnston's symmetry server. It's Jmol based, so it is very interactive and intuitive. I put a small snippet of screencast in this post but you should really check it out for yourself. (I should note that because of the implementation it is not possible to access the coordinates - thanks to Dean for getting back to me on that one).

Molecular symmetry is actually a great example of how molecular animation can help make things clearer. I can't remember a single explanation of symmetry that didn't involve the phrase "now imagine rotating the molecule ...". Now you don't have to.
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