
I’ve LaTeXed $48=2 \times 24$ posts into a 114 page booklet Monsters and Moonshine for you to download. The $24$ ‘Monsters’ posts are (mostly) about finite simple (sporadic) groups : we start with the Scottish solids (hoax?), move on to the 1415 game groupoid and a new Conway $M_{13}$sliding game which uses the sporadic Mathieu… Read more »

Sunday january 2nd around 18hr NeBstats went crazy. Referrals clarified that the post ‘What is the knot associated to a prime?’ was picked up at Reddit/math and remained nr.1 for about a day. Now, the dust has settled, so let’s learn from the experience. A Redditmention is to a blog what doping is to a… Read more »

For the better part of the 30ties, Ernst Witt (1) did hang out with the rest of the ‘Noetherknaben’, the group of young mathematicians around Emmy Noether (3) in Gottingen. In 1934 Witt became Helmut Hasse‘s assistent in Gottingen, where he qualified as a university lecturer in 1936. By 1938 he has made enough of… Read more »

Are the valencies of the 171 moonshine groups are compatible, that is, can one construct a (disconnected) graph on the 171 vertices such that in every vertex (determined by a moonshine group G) the vertexvalency coincides with the valency of the corresponding group? Duncan describes a subset of 9 moonshine groups for which the valencies… Read more »

We have seen that Conway’s big picture helps us to determine all arithmetic subgroups of $PSL_2(\mathbb{R}) $ commensurable with the modular group $PSL_2(\mathbb{Z}) $, including all groups of monstrous moonshine. As there are exactly 171 such moonshine groups, they are determined by a finite subgraph of Conway’s picture and we call the minimal such subgraph… Read more »

Conway and Norton showed that there are exactly 171 moonshine functions and associated two arithmetic subgroups to them. We want a tool to describe these and here’s where Conway’s big picture comes in very handy. All moonshine groups are arithmetic groups, that is, they are commensurable with the modular group. Conway’s idea is to view… Read more »

While the verdict on a neolithic Scottish icosahedron is still open, let us recall Kostant’s grouptheoretic construction of the icosahedron from its rotationsymmetry group $A_5 $. The alternating group $A_5 $ has two conjugacy classes of order 5 elements, both consisting of exactly 12 elements. Fix one of these conjugacy classes, say $C $ and… Read more »

To Gavin Wraiht a mathematical phantom is a “nonexistent entity which ought to be there but apparently is not; but nevertheless obtrudes its effects so convincingly that one is forced to concede a broader notion of existence”. Mathematics’ history is filled with phantoms getting the kiss of life. Nobody will deny the ancient Greek were… Read more »

is decided : I’ll keep maintaining this URL until newyear’s eve. At that time I’ll be blogging here for 5 years… The few encounters I’ve had with architects, taught me this basic lesson of life : the main function of several rooms in a house changes every 5 years (due to children and yourself getting… Read more »

Over the last month a pile of books grew in our living room to impressive heights, intended to be packed for our usual 3+week vacation to the south of France. From the outset it was clear that ‘circumstances’ (see title for hint) forced us to slim it down to 2 weeksmax, this year. So, last… Read more »

Some weeks ago Peter Woit of Not Even Wrong and Bee of Backreaction had a videochat on all sorts of things (see the links above to see the whole clip) including the nine minute passage below on ‘the future of (science) blogs’. click here to see the video The crucial point being that blogging takes… Read more »

The Monster is the largest of the 26 sporadic simple groups and has order 808 017 424 794 512 875 886 459 904 961 710 757 005 754 368 000 000 000 = 2^46 3^20 5^9 7^6 11^2 13^3 17 19 23 29 31 41 47 59 71. It is not so much the size… Read more »

Arnold has written a followup to the paper mentioned last time called “Polymathematics : is mathematics a single science or a set of arts?” (or here for a (huge) PDFconversion). On page 8 of that paper is a nice summary of his 25 trinities : I learned of this newer paper from a comment by… Read more »

Thanks for clicking through… I guess. If nothing else, it shows that just as much as the stock market is fueled by greed, mathematical reasearch is driven by frustration (or the pleasure gained from knowing others to be frustrated). I did spend the better part of the day doing a lengthy, if not laborious, calculation,… Read more »

Referring to the triple of exceptional Galois groups $L_2(5),L_2(7),L_2(11) $ and its connection to the Platonic solids I wrote : “It sure seems that surprises often come in triples…”. Briefly I considered replacing triples by trinities, but then, I didnt want to sound too mystic… David Corfield of the ncategory cafe and a dialogue on… Read more »

Exactly one year ago this blog was briefly renamed MoonshineMath. The concept being that it would focus on the mathematics surrounding the monster group & moonshine. Well, I got as far as the Mathieu groups… After a couple of months, I changed the name back to neverendingbooks because I needed the freedom to post on… Read more »

Monstrous moonshine was born (sometime in 1978) the moment John McKay realized that the linear term in the jfunction $j(q) = \frac{1}{q} + 744 + 196884 q + 21493760 q^2 + 864229970 q^3 + \ldots $ is surprisingly close to the dimension of the smallest nontrivial irreducible representation of the monster group, which is 196883…. Read more »

On friday, I did spot in my regular Antwerpbookshop Finding Moonshine by Marcus du Sautoy and must have uttered a tiny curse because, at once, everyone near me was staring at me… To make matters worse, I took the book from the shelf, quickly glanced through it and began shaking my head more and more,… Read more »

Below an uptillnow hidden post, written november last year, trying to explain the long blogsilence at neverendingbooks during octobernovember 2007… A couple of months ago a publisher approached me, out of the blue, to consider writing a book about mathematics for the general audience (in Dutch (?!)). Okay, I brought this on myself hinting at… Read more »

Last time we introduced the tangent quiver $\vec{t}~A $ of an affine algebra A to be a quiver on the isoclasses of simple finite dimensional representations. When $A=\mathbb{C}[X] $ is the coordinate ring of an affine variety, these vertices are just the points of the variety $X $ and this set has the extra structure… Read more »

On page 227 of Symmetry and the Monster, Mark Ronan tells the story of Conway and Norton computing the number of independent _mini jfunctions_ (McKayThompson series) arising from the Moonshine module. There are 194 distinct characters of the monster (btw. see the background picture for the first page of the character table as given in… Read more »

Here a collection of pdffiles of NeverEndingBooksposts on groups, in reverse chronological order.

From time to time you may see here a message that NeverEndingBooks ends on Bloomsday (June 16th). Soon after, I hope to restart with another blog at the same URL. For starters, Neverendingbooks refers to my neverending bookproject on noncommutative geometry started in 1999, a millenium ago… Today I\’m correcting the proofs and have even… Read more »

Last time we saw that a curve defined over $\overline{\mathbb{Q}} $ gives rise to a permutation representation of $PSL_2(\mathbb{Z}) $ or one of its subgroups $\Gamma_0(2) $ (of index 2) or $\Gamma(2) $ (of index 6). As the corresponding monodromy group is finite, this representation factors through a normal subgroup of finite index, so it… Read more »

Even a virtual course needs an opening line, so here it is : Take your favourite $SL_2(\mathbb{Z}) $representation Here is mine : the permutation presentation of the Mathieu group(s). Emile Leonard Mathieu is remembered especially for his discovery (in 1861 and 1873) of five sporadic simple groups named after him, the Mathieu groups $M_{11},M_{12},M_{22},M_{23} $… Read more »
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