Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Monstrous Moonshine is True": Profile of Richard Borcherds, by W. Wayt Gibbs.Scientific American, November 1998, pages 40-41.

This article presents a vivid and engaging portrait of mathematician RichardBorcherds. Borcherds, who proved what are known as the "moonshine conjectures"in the theory of finite simple groups, was awarded the highest honor inmathematics, the Fields Medal, in August 1998. "[L]ooking through his eyes,through his work," the article says, "you can get a glimpse of a wholealternative universe, full of wondrous objects that are real but notphysical." The article succeeds in providing some glimpses of this universeand its fascinations.

--- Allyn Jackson