a1 Rider College, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
This paper originated with the observation that while all of the known stable lattice packings of spheres are highly symmetric, it is futile to try to prove a converse statement: the ordinary integer-lattice provides a distinctly unstable packing of spheres, but admits a large group of orthogonal symmetries nonetheless. The integerlattice is in fact very unstable—the slightest perturbation places the spheres in a more efficient configuration. We will call such a lattice fragile. The purpose of this note is to prove that a highly symmetric lattice must be either stable or fragile.
(Received September 29 1978)