Symmetry and the Monster: One of the greatest quests of mathematics (Google eBook)The hunt for the 'Monster' of symmetry is one of the great mathematical quests, alongside Fermat's Last Theorem, the Riemann Hypothesis, and Poincareacute; Conjecture. The Monster is a giant snowflake in 196,884 dimensions  the largest exception to our neat classifications of symmetry, with a beautiful structure which may turn out to unlock our understanding of symmetry, string theory, and the very fabric of our universe. The story of its discovery became the biggest joint mathematical project of all time  involving determination, luck, and some very extraordinary characters.  ;Mathematics is being driven forward by the quest to solve a small number of major problems  generating excitement in the mathematical world and beyond. Four famous challenges have been Fermat's Last Theorem, the Riemann Hypothesis, Poincareacute;'s Conjecture, and, now, the quest for the 'Monster' of Symmetry. It is this latter that forms the topic of this book. Although its roots go back much further, the quest to understand symmetry really begins with the tragic young genius Evariste Galois, who died at the age of 20 in a duel. He used symmetry to understand algebraic equations, and he discovered that there were building blocks or 'atoms of symmetry'. Most fit into a table, rather like the periodic table of elements, but there are 26 exceptions. The biggest of these was dubbed 'the Monster'  a giant snowflake in 196,884 dimensions. At first the Monster was only dimly seen. Did it really exist, or was it a mirage? Many mathematicians became involved. The Monster became clearer, and it was no longer monstrous but a beautiful form that pointed out deep connections between symmetry, string theory, and the very fabric and form of the universe. The story of the discovery involves some extraordinary characters, and Mark Ronan brings these people to life, and recreates in accessible language the growing excitement of what became the biggest joint project ever in the field of mathematics  the hunt for the Monster.  ;...includes entertaining glimpses of the personalities involved ...but best of all gives an admirable amount of detail...  TLS;a fascinating book that will appeal to anyone with an appetite for exploration and discovery, and which is accessble to all.  
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Review: Symmetry and the Monster: One of the Greatest Quests of Mathematics
User Review  Bretbenesh  GoodreadsIt was good, and it made me more interested in learning more about some of the sporadic simple groups (this is pretty close to my field of research). The best points: it provides a good history of ... Read full review
Review: Symmetry and the Monster: One of the Greatest Quests of Mathematics
User Review  Mohammed Hashem  GoodreadsI have attended a lecture about this book by the author in UCL early this year. At that time I did not know much about group theory, and after taking a class on it. I liked the topic so much that I ... Read full review
Contents
Death of a Genius  
3Irrational Solutions  
4Groups  
5Sophus Lie  
6Lie Groups and Physics  
7Going Finite  
13Fischers Monsters  
14The Atlas  
15A Monstrous Mystery  
16Construction  
17Moonshine  
Notes  
Appendix 1The Golden Section  
Appendix 2The Witt Design  
Common terms and phrases
24 dimensions algebraic arithmetic Aschbacher Atlas atoms of symmetry Baby Monster block Borcherds Bourbaki called Cambridge Cartan Cauchy character table Chevalley classification construction Conway’s coordinates crosssection cube cyclic groups deconstructed discovered electron equations of degree Évariste Évariste Galois example exceptional symmetry atoms families Feit Fields Medal finite symmetry atoms Fischer Galois Galois’s geometry Germany Gorenstein Griess group of permutations group of symmetries group theory idea jfunction Jacques Tits Janko Klein later Leech Lattice Lie groups Lie’s mathematician mathematician named mathematics Mathieu’s group McKay method mirror symmetries modular group Moonshine moved multicrystals needed number of dimensions number theory objects operations pair paper Paris plane prime numbers problem proof proved published quantum Richard Brauer rotation simple groups solutions Sophus Lie space square started string theory student subgroup symbols symmetry atoms symmetry group Tartaglia technical theorem things Thompson three dimensions transpositions University vertex vertices whole numbers wrote