, Volume 81, Issue 5, pp 1011–1029 | Cite as

Curie’s Hazard: From Electromagnetism to Symmetry Violation

  • Bryan W. RobertsEmail author
Original Article


Pierre Curie claimed that a symmetry of a cause must be found in the produced effects. This paper shows why this principle works in Curie’s example of the electrostatics of central fields, but fails in many others. The failure of Curie’s claim is then shown to be of special empirical interest, in that this failure underpins the experimental discovery of parity violation and of CP violation in the twentieth century.


Electromagnetic Field Charge Distribution Central Field Parity Violation Symmetry Principle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Thanks to John D. Norton for many discussions on this topic, and to Jeremy Butterfield, Elena Castellani, and Jenann Ismael for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social SciencesLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK

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