# Student colloquium - Niels Munch Mikkelsen: Group theory and the eightfold way

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*Supervisor : Nikolaj Zinner*

Symmetries play an invaluable role in the description of physical systems, both classically and quantum mechanically. Whether it be in the context of geometric symmetries of crystalline systems or molecules, or the invariance of physical laws with respects to position or orientation, symmetries are an important tool for any physicist.

The mathematical theories used to describe symmetries is group theory and representation theory. Thus, many physicists have worked with these theories, perhaps without even knowing it.

In this colloquium, I will briefly introduce group- and representation theory with concrete examples and show how these concepts can be applied to physical systems. In particular, I will discuss the use representation theory to classify baryons in particle physics, known as “The eightfold way”, where the importance of symmetry becomes very apparent.