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Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Monster

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:00 AM

In memory of Princeton mathematician John Nash

"For the past six years all over the world 
experts in the branch of abstract algebra
called group theory have been struggling
to capture a group known as the monster."

—Martin Gardner, Scientific American ,  June 1980

"When the Hawkline Monster moved to get a better view
of what was happening, the shadow, after having checked
all the possibilities of light, had discovered a way that it
could shift itself in front of the monster, so that the monster
at this crucial time would be blinded by darkness for a few
seconds, did so, causing confusion to befall the monster.

This was all that the shadow could do and it hoped that this
would give Greer and Cameron the edge they would need
to destroy the Hawkline Monster using whatever plan they
had come up with, for it seemed that they must have a plan
if they were to have any chance at all with the monster and
they did not seem like fools.

When Cameron yelled at Greer, the shadow interpreted this
as the time to move and did so. It obscured the vision of the
Hawkline Monster for a few seconds, knowing full well that if
the monster were destroyed it would be destroyed, too, but
death was better than going on living like this, being a part of
this evil."

— Richard Brautigan, The Hawkline Monster , 1974

From the post For Scientific Witch Hunters of October 30,
an illustration from The Boston Globe —

From the post Colorful Story (All Souls' Day),  
an Illustration from Google Book Search —

Earlier in Brautigan's tale

" Everybody started to leave the parlor to go downstairs
and pour out the Hawkline Monster but just as
they reached the door and one of the Hawkline women
had her hand on the knob, Cameron said, 'Hold it for a
second. I want to get myself a little whiskey.' "

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