spontaneous symmetry breaking

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spontaneous symmetry breaking

[spän′tā·nē·əs ′sim·ə·trē ‚brāk·iŋ]
(physics)
A situation in which the solution of a set of physical equations fails to exhibit a symmetry possessed by the equations themselves; an example is a magnet, in which the underlying equations describing the metal do not distinguish any direction of space from any other, but the magnet certainly does, since it points in some definite direction.
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