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The Monster and Other Sporadic Groups

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All over the world during the last half of the 1970s experts in a branch of abstract algebra called group theory struggled to capture a group that John Horton Conway nicknamed “The Monster.” The name derives from its size. When it was finally constructed in 1980, the number of its elements proved to be 808,017, 424,794,512,875,886,459,904,961,710, 757,005,754,368,000,000,000, or 246 × 320 × 59 × 76 × 112 × 133 × 17 × 19 × 23 × 29 × 31 × 41 × 47 × 59 × 71


  • Finite Group
  • Simple Group
  • Color Graph
  • Cyclic Permutation
  • Finite Simple Group

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What’s purple and commutes? An Abelian grape.

—Anonymous mathematical riddle, ca. 1965

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© 1997 Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.

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Gardner, M. (1997). The Monster and Other Sporadic Groups. In: The Last Recreations. Springer, New York, NY.

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