Symmetry and the Monster

One of the greatest quests of mathematics


Imagine a giant snowflake in 196,884 dimensions...This is the story of a mathematical quest that began two hundred years ago in revolutionary France, led to the biggest collaboration ever between mathematicians across the world, and revealed the 'Monster' - not monstrous at all, but a structure of exquisite beauty and complexity. Told here for the first time in accessible prose, it is a story that involves brilliant yet tragic characters, curious number 'coincidences' that led to breakthroughs in the mathematics of symmetry, and strangecrystals that reach into many dimensions. And it is a story that is not yet over, for we have yet to understand the deep significance of the Monster - and its tantalizing hints of connections with the physical structure of spacetime. Once we understand the full nature of the Monster, we may well haverevealed a whole new and deeper understanding of the nature of our Universe.
  • OUP Oxford; May 2006
  • ISBN: 9780191517662
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
  • Title: Symmetry and the Monster
  • Author: Mark Ronan
  • Imprint: OUP Oxford

In The Press

Ronan tells a good story, and in doing so he paints a convincing picture of how mathematicians conduct their research.

About The Author

Mark Ronan is a Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and was Visiting Professor of Mathematics at University College London, having held previous academic positions in Berlin, in Braunschweig, and in Birmingham where he was Mason Professor of Mathematics in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In his early career he worked on the fringes of the Classification program and knew personally all the main people involved in the modern part of this story. His workis now on geometric structures exhibiting symmetry, on which he has written numerous research papers and a textbook published by Academic Press in 1989. Besides mathematics, Mark reads Babylonian cuneiform and has a great love for music. He has acted in more than a dozen operas at the Lyric Opera ofChicago and danced in The Nutcracker.