Simon Norton

Simon Norton died last week. I got the news yesterday.

I have written about Simon here before, after reading Alexander Masters’ biography. I have no intention of rehearsing Simon’s eccentricities. But he had an extraordinary talent and insight into mathematics, especially finite group theory; nobody knew their way around the Monster like Simon.

How did he do it? Especially, how did he see a group like the Monster? Masters’ book doesn’t tell us, since it doesn’t explain what a simple group is. Now Simon can’t tell us.

I have always thought that mathematicians’ thought processes offer us a unique insight into the way the human mind thinks.

In any case, Simon is a sad loss; the world is poorer without him, not just mathematically.

About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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1 Response to Simon Norton

  1. Dima says:

    This is very sad indeed. I asked Simon something about the Monster as recently as last year, and he replied that he might look into it… R.I.P.

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