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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    they look different when shifted

    Does "shifted" here refer to "breaking symmetry"?


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    HOW TO CREATE A TIME CRYSTAL


    Mineral crystals break symmetry in space because their atoms occupy fixed positions, so they look different when shifted. They also resist changes to their spatial structure.

    Source

    (The source is on the image ("HOW TO CREATE A TIME CRYSTAL") with black ground)

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: they look different when shifted

    No. Have you looked up the verb "shift"?
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #3

    Re: they look different when shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    No. Have you looked up the verb "shift"?
    Of course I did:

    Shift: to (cause something or someone to) move or change from one position or direction to another, especially slightly. (Cambridge Dictionary)

    Shift what in the context? The positions of atoms of (ordinary) crystal? If so, it would mean their fixed positions change, thus breaking symmetry - Well, now you see that I've returned to the starting point of the OP and my understanding got stuck here.

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    #4

    Re: they look different when shifted

    The shifting of the position of the crystal causes the incident and reflected lights on the material(atomic structure) within it to be different, thus changing its appearance. It is like viewing something under different light conditions.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

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    #5

    Re: they look different when shifted

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    The shifting of the position of the crystal causes the incident and reflected lights on the material(atomic structure) within it to be different, thus changing its appearance. It is like viewing something under different light conditions.
    Got it.

    BTW, I don't understand the use of "because":

    "Mineral crystals break symmetry in space because their atoms occupy fixed positions, so they look different when shifted. They also resist changes to their spatial structure."

    Does the author tell us that position-fixed atoms must lead to the non-existence of symmetry?

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