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"Moonshine" has another meaning than the contemporary one involving home-made corn...

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obx1112 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 27, 2009 at 4:09 PM via web

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"Moonshine" has another meaning than the contemporary one involving home-made corn liquor. What branch of science and scientists use this term?

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sagesource | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted June 30, 2009 at 3:38 AM (Answer #1)

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"Moonshine" denotes a concept used in advanced mathematics.

The term "moonshine" or "monstrous moonshine" is found in quantum algebra. In a 2001 paper, T. Gannon defines it as follows:

At minimum, Moonshine should be regarded as a certain collection of related examples where algebraic structures have been associated automorphic functions or forms. (p. 7)

There are a number of conflicting reasons given why this association received the name of "Moonshine." One explains it as an expression of incredulity uttered by one researcher on being told about part of the concept. Another traces it to a bottle of whiskey offered as a prize by another mathematician to anyone who could answer a question related to it.

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