In Part I of this series of posts, I introduced the sporadic groups, finite groups of symmetries which aren’t the symmetries of any obvious categories of shapes. The sporadic groups in turn are classified into the Happy Family, headed by the Monster group, and the Pariahs. In Part II, I discussed Monstrous Moonshine, the connection between the Monster group and a type of function called a modular form. This in turn ties the Monster group, and with it the Happy Family, to elliptic curves, Fermat’s Last Theorem, and string theory, among other things. But until 2017, the Pariah groups remained stubbornly outside these connections.

# You're reading: Columns

### Review: The Maths Behind… by Colin Beveridge

*Ed Rochead sent us this review of Aperiodipal Colin Beveridge’s latest pop maths book.*

This book is written to answer the question ‘when would you ever use maths in everyday life?’ It therefore focuses on applied maths, across a surprisingly wide breadth of applications. The book is organised into sections such as ‘the human world’, ‘the natural world’, ‘getting around’ and ‘the everyday’. Within each section there are approximately ten topics, for which the maths behind some facet of ‘everyday life’ is explained, with cheerful colour graphics and not shying away from using an equation where necessary.

### Carnival of Mathematics 152

The next issue of the Carnival of Mathematics, rounding up blog posts from the month of November, and compiled by TD, is now online at Chalkdust Magazine.

The Carnival rounds up maths blog posts from all over the internet, including some from our own Aperiodical. See our Carnival of Mathematics page for more information.

### The Calculus Story – Interview with author David Acheson

The Calculus Story is the latest new book from author and mathematician David Acheson, telling the story of the history of calculus – with all the positive determinants and negative determinants along the way. The book came out on 23rd November through Oxford University Press. We spoke to David to find out what inspired him to tell the greatest (local maximum) story ever told.

### When numbers aren’t neutral: the hidden politics of budget calculators

The day after last week’s budget, I logged onto the BBC News website and clicked on their budget calculator to find out if I was a winner or a loser. The questions are pretty simple: first off, it asks how much you drink, smoke and drive, and then it asks how much you earn, plus a few bits and bobs to cover technicalities. Then, it spits out an answer: did Phil leave you feeling flush, was it more of a hammering at the hands of Hammond? I came away £8 a month better off…and significantly angrier than I expected.

### Festival of the Spoken Nerd: Just for Graphs DVD

*The new live DVD from science comedy trio Festival of the Spoken Nerd, Just for Graphs, is out now, and we’ve been sent a copy to review. We got together a pile of appropriately nerdy science fans to watch (left), and here’s what we thought.*

### “Pariah Moonshine” Part II: For Whom the Moon Shines

*This post is part of a series of posts by guest author Joshua Holden.*

I ended Part I with the observation that the Monster group was connected with the symmetries of a group sitting in 196883-dimensional space, whereas the number 196884 appeared as part of a function used in number theory, the study of the properties of whole numbers. In particular, a mathematician named John McKay noticed the number as one of the coefficients of a modular form.