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Geometry and Topology Seminar

Friday, March 8, 2019
3:00pm to 5:00pm
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Linde Hall 187
A Monstrous(?) Moduli Space
Philip Engel, Department of Mathematics, University of Georgia,

Let B = CH^13 be 13-dimensional complex hyperbolic space (a complex ball). There is an arithmetic group Γ in PU(13) acting on B generated by order 3 Hermitian isometries s_i called triflections. Basak and Allcock have studied the geometry of X = Γ \ B in detail; it is intimately connected with the finite projective plane P^2F_3. A conjecture of Allcock states that if one replaces relations s_i^3=1 in Γ with s_i^2=1, the resulting group is the Bimonster---the wreath product of the monster with Z_2. A resolution of this conjecture likely leads to a resolution of the "Hirzebruch prize question": The existence of a compact 12-complex dimensional manifold with certain topological invariants and an action of the monster. Such a manifold would lead in a known way to a new, geometric proof of monstrous moonshine.

I will discuss three moduli spaces, which might (depending on the status of computations at the time of the talk) be isomorphic to ball quotients of dimensions 13, 7, 4 relating to the projective planes P^2F_3, P^2F_2, "P^2F_1" = {3 points}. The corresponding finite groups, gotten by replacing 3, 4, 6 with 2, should be the bimonster, an orthogonal group O_8(2) of a quadratic form on F_2^8, and the symmetric group S_6 respectively. Should these examples work out, they will produce many surprising things: For instance, a formula for the order of the monster group in terms of Hurwitz numbers. This talk is highly speculative and represents joint with Peter Smillie and Francois Greer.

For more information, please contact Mathematics Department by phone at 626-395-4335 or by email at [email protected].