Borcherds has proved the so-called 'moonshine conjecture', one of the most abstract and esoteric achievements imaginable. His work virtually defies explanation, which means that everybody knows that he is brilliant, but nobody understands why.
Professor Borcherds' work is concerned with a purely mathematical and unimaginable object that lives in 196,883 dimensions. It's called the Monster.
Despite his facility with anything mathematical, Richard was puzzled byhis sense of alienation from people. He found people to be complex, mysterious beings who were hard to comprehend because they did not conformto the laws of physics or math.
Born in Cape Town and educated at Cambridge, where he studied under John Horton Conway. After receiving his doctorate he has held various positions at Cambridge and at UC Berkeley, where he is currently a professor of mathematics.
Preprints, papers and thesis.
The (Monstrous Moonshine) conjecture presented two mathematical structures in a totally unexpected relationship. One of these structures is the so-called Monster Group, and the other is the theory of modular functions.
Every finite simple group either fits into one of about 20 infinite families, or is one of 26 exceptions, called sporadic simple groups. The monster simple group is the largest of the sporadic finite simple groups
Displaying penetrating insight, formidable technique and brilliant originality, Borcherds has used the beautiful properties of some exceptional structures to motivate new algebraic theories of great power...