Communications in Number Theory and Physics

Volume 6 (2012)

Number 3

On Rademacher sums, the largest Mathieu group and the holographic modularity of moonshine

Pages: 697 – 758



Miranda C. N. Cheng (Dept. of Mathematics and Dept. of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A.)

John F. R. Duncan (Department of Mathematics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.)


Recently a conjecture has proposed which attaches (mock) modular forms to the largest Mathieu group. This may be compared to monstrous moonshine, in which modular functions are attached to elements of the Monster group. One of the most remarkable aspects of monstrous moonshine is the following genus zero property: the modular functions turn out to be the generators for the function fields of their invariance groups. In particular, these invariance groups define genus zero quotients of the upper half-plane. It is therefore natural to ask if there is an analogue of this property in the Mathieu case, and at first glance the answer appears to be negative since not all the discrete groups arising there have genus zero. On the other hand, in this paper we prove that each (mock) modular form appearing in the Mathieu correspondence coincides with the Rademacher sum constructed from its polar part. This property, inspired by the AdS/CFT correspondence in physics, was shown previously to be equivalent to the genus zero property of monstrous moonshine. Hence, we conclude that this “Rademacher summability” property serves as the natural analogue of the genus zero property in the Mathieu case. Our result constitutes further evidence that the Rademacher method provides a powerful framework for understanding the modularity of moonshine, and leads to interesting physical questions regarding the gravitational duals of the relevant conformal field theories.

Published 24 January 2013