(Roughly) Daily

The Music of the Spheres…


From the redoubtable Roger Ebert, who observed, “now all I need to know is: (1) How to remember the song; (2) How to play the piano.”


As we hum along, we might send carefully-calculated birthday greetings to Richard Ewen Borcherds; he was born on this date in 1959.  A chess prodigy in line to become Grand Master, he forsook the board (feeling that higher levels of play were more about the competition than the chess) for mathematics.  A specialist in in lattices, number theory, group theory, and infinite-dimensional algebras, he is best known for solving/proving the so-called “Moonshine conjecture,” which had been formulated in the late ’70s by John Conway and Simon Norton (and was so named as the proposition seemed so outlandish).  More recently, Borcherds has been working to develop a mathematically-rigorous construction of quantum field theory.  Among his many prizes, he has been awarded the “Nobel of Math,” the Fields Medal.



Written by LW

November 29, 2012 at 1:01 am

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