Translational symmetry

In geometry, to translate a geometric figure is to move it from one place to another without rotating it. A translation "slides" a thing by a: Ta(p) = p + a.

For translational invariant functions it is . The Lebesgue measure is an example for such a function.

In physics and mathematics, continuous translational symmetry is the invariance of a system of equations under any translation. Discrete translational symmetry is invariant under discrete translation.

Analogously an operator A on functions is said to be translationally invariant with respect to a translation operator if the result after applying A doesn't change if the argument function is translated. More precisely it must hold that

Laws of physics are translationally invariant under a spatial translation if they do not distinguish different points in space. According to Noether's theorem, space translational symmetry of a physical system is equivalent to the momentum conservation law.

Translational symmetry of an object means that a particular translation does not change the object. For a given object, the translations for which this applies form a group, the symmetry group of the object, or, if the object has more kinds of symmetry, a subgroup of the symmetry group.


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