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Book Discussion: Symmetry and the Monster by Mark Ronan

Apr 26

We will discuss Mark Ronan's book "Symmetry and the Monster: One of the Greatest Quests of Mathematics" which explores the classification of finite simple group, the most famous exception known as "the monster", and the "moonshine" phenomenon. The book has basic treatments of the platonic solids, Évariste Galois, Sophus Lie, Lie groups and physics, the Odd Order Theorem of Walter Feit and John Thompson, sporadic groups (the exceptional finite groups), sphere packing, latices, the Leech Latice, dihedral groups, John Conway, Daniel Gorenstein, the monster, and moonshine. As such this is a rather breathtaking tour through the complexities of modern algebra. It is gently and soberly conducted so that it doesn't seem as daunting as the thousand pages of journal pages which constitute the proof of the classification of finite simple groups. The stories of the mathematicians involved and their teamwork are engaging.

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