Writing a survey paper is a highly underestimated task. I once

tried it out with \’Centers of generic division algebras : the

rationality problem 1965-1990\’ and it took me a lot of time and that

was on a topic with only 10 to 15 key papers to consider… The task of

writing a survey paper on a topic with any breadth must be much more

difficult. Last week, Terry Gannon posted a survey paper on the arXiv :

Monstrous Moonshine : The first twenty-five years

which gives a very readable introduction to this exciting topic. It has

a marvelous opening line :

It has been approximately

twenty-five years since John McKay remarked that

196 884 = 196 883 +
1

Anyone who is puzzled by this line (“So what?”)

should definitely have a go at this paper! Still not convinced? Here is

the second sentence :

That time has seen the discovery of

important structures, the establishment of another deep connection

between number theory and algebra, and a reinforcement of a new era of

cooperation between pure mathematics and mathematical

physics.

For the remaining sentences (quite a few, the paper

is 33 pages long) I happily refer you to the paper.

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