Symmetry and the Monster

This describes the mathematical quest for all the basic building blocks for symmetry, and the people who made it all possible. Starting with the ancient Greeks we move to a young man in early nineteenth century France who used a mathematical interpretation of symmetry to solve a great mathematical problem. From there we move rapidly to the second half of the twentieth century when mathematicians compiled a full list of the basic building blocks for symmetry, including a mysterious new one dubbed The Monster. I have given this talk in many countries on three different continents — here is a sample.