The hunt for the 'Monster' of symmetry is one of the great mathematical quests, alongside Fermat's Last Theorem, the Riemann Hypothesis, and Poincar--eacute--; 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, Poincar--eacute--;'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.
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Oxford University Press, Incorporated
May 21, 2006
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