In the first week the mathematics course 'Symmetries' treats the mathematical concepts 'groups' and 'symmetries' that form the basis of the deepening that then follows. The entire group is then split into smaller groups of about 7 students, with a maximum of 10, by choosing one of the following topics (listed in increasing difficulty and abstraction):


Finite groups in daily life (music, nature, art, math,…);


General relativity and black holes;


The fundaments of quantum mechanics.

All students read every week parts of Roger Penrose’s book "The Road to Reality" (and additional material) and they make assignments. Each week the material is discussed in these smaller groups and new targets are set.

At the end of the course each group tells the other groups what they have learned.

Prerequisites: Linear Algebra (MathC1).

General information

This course will take place in the first quartile of your second year. It will be taught by Ruud van Damme.


Ruud van Damme

He was born in 1955 in the Southern Dutch Town of Breda and obtained his master’s degree in theoretical physics at the University of Utrecht after completing his studies there. In 1984, he added a PhD to this achievement, with Nobel Prize winner Gerard ‘t Hooft as his supervisor. Afterwards, he worked as a postdoc at the University of Leiden, before moving to Twente. His premier interest lays with methods of calculation, which he applies to the physics of fluids, the theory of graphs, quantum mechanics, and technical processes. His research concentrates on numerical techniques that deal with these matters and their applications. Overall, he has written over 100 papers on these topics, and acted as a co-auteur for a book about “splines and wavelets”.

Ruud van Damme is head of the research group of numerical analysis and computational mechanics (NACM) at the department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Twente. Besides this, he also teaches algorithms and programming, mathematical modelling, introduction to engineering and several courses for the mathematical track of the Honours programme.



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