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Finding Moonshine: A Mathematician's journey through symmetry

Event

Event video

February
212008

18:30 - 19:30

Location

The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG

Overview

by Professor Marcus du Sautoy, University of Oxford
In association with 4th Estate Publishing and the Daily Telegraph

Symmetry is all around us. Our eyes and minds are drawn to symmetrical objects, from the sphere to the swastika, from the pyramid to the pentagon. Of fundamental significance to the way we interpret the world around us, this unique, all-pervasive phenomenon indicates a dynamic relationship between objects. In chemistry and physics the concept of symmetry explains the structure of crystals or the theory of fundamental particles; in evolutionary biology, the natural world exploits symmetry in the fight for survival; and symmetry - and the breaking of it - are central to ideas in art, architecture, and music.

This talk takes a unique look into the mathematical mind as Marcus explores deep conjectures about symmetry. These conjectures have culminated in the most exciting discovery to datethe summit of mathematicians' mastery in the fieldthe Monster, a huge snowflake that lives in 196,883-dimensional space with more symmetries than there are atoms in the sun.

Marcus du Sautoy is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Wadham College. He has been named by the Independent on Sunday as one of the UK's leading scientists, has written extensively for The GuardianThe Times and the Daily Telegraph and has appeared on Radio 4 on numerous occasions. He is the author of The Music of the Primes (Fourth Estate, 2003), has presented Mind Games and The Music of the Primes on BBC4, and is currently filming a television programme on the history of mathematics. He lives in London with his wife and three children.

Finding Moonshine: A Mathematician's journey through symmetry

Public lecture by Professor Marcus du Sautoy, University of Oxford

The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK