Manifestations of Parity Violations in Atomic and Molecular Systems

  • Robert A. Harris
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (volume 57)


The conservation of parity is just a fancy way of saying that there is no fundamental way of distinguishing left from right. Another way of putting it is that the mirror image of any experiment may be performed. To paraphrase Feynman and L. Frank Baum (Feynman, 1963, 1965; Baum, 1900): In the Wizard of Oz, the Wizard opened up the left side of the tin woodman’s breast and put in a heart. Suppose we communicated with an alien Wizard who was made of matter, obeyed the same laws as we, and was in a closed palace. Suppose we asked it to construct a tin woodman. We could give it all of the instructions up to which side to put the heart.


Circular Dichroism Parity Operator Optical Activity Neutral Current Axial Vector 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Harris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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