George V. Kidder Faculty Lecture: Professor Richard Foote
"The Monster and its Friends: An Apercu of the 'Periodic Table' of Symmetry," Richard Foote, Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
Symmetry of objects and systems is studied via mathematical structures known as "groups." Just as numbers can be factored into primes or physical matter can be broken down into atoms, symmetry groups can be factored into irreducible "atoms" (one of which is called The Monster). This talk will give an elementary, light-hearted overview of group theory, culminating in the recently completed determination of the "periodic table" of symmetry groups, one of the major achievements of modern mathematics.
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