The Monster Group

web monster group

So on Tuesday I got an email from Brady Haran (of numberphile) that said this:

“This week I am doing the Monster group.

It is the 808,017,424,794,512,875,886,459,904,961,710,757,005,754,368,000,000,000 symmetries for an impossible-to-imagine abstract object that exists in 196883-dimensional space.

want to have a crack at showing what THAT looks like, Mr Artist!?”

In size 18 font.

So in the ensuing couple of days I thought about all the possible ways I could draw something in that many dimensions with symmetries running through an inconceivable number of axes. Then completely gave up and drew some monsters playing in a band. If in doubt: pun. Phew, successfully averted a nervous breakdown.

Now, I’m really pleased to find Brady went with it and it is part of a couple of videos where he has interviewed John Conway about the monster group. The first of which I found quite touching, as he discusses his achievements, regrets and his mortality. The second describes in a bit of detail what the Monster Group is.

I’m auctioning the painting through Numberphile’s ebay page, the monsters are constructed from the number of symmetries in the monster group – it’s full of loads of compensatory maths puns and in jokes (and shout outs to friends’ bands).