Communications in Number Theory and Physics

Volume 8 (2014)

Number 2

Umbral moonshine

Pages: 101 – 242



Miranda C. N. Cheng (Université Paris 7, UMR CNRS, Paris, France; and LPTHE, Université Paris 6, Paris, France)

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

Jeffrey A. Harvey (Enrico Fermi Institute and Department of Physics, University of Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.)


We describe surprising relationships between automorphic forms of various kinds, imaginary quadratic number fields and a certain system of six finite groups that are parameterized naturally by the divisors of $12$. The Mathieu group correspondence recently discovered by Eguchi-Ooguri-Tachikawa is recovered as a special case. We introduce a notion of extremal Jacobi form and prove that it characterizes the Jacobi forms arising by establishing a connection to critical values of Dirichlet series attached to modular forms of weight $2$. These extremal Jacobi forms are closely related to certain vector-valued mock modular forms studied recently by Dabholkar-Murthy-Zagier in connection with the physics of quantum black holes in string theory. In a manner similar to monstrous moonshine the automorphic forms we identify constitute evidence for the existence of infinite-dimensional graded modules for the six groups in our system. We formulate an Umbral moonshine conjecture that is in direct analogy with the monstrous moonshine conjecture of Conway-Norton. Curiously, we find a number of Ramanujan’s mock theta functions appearing as McKay-Thompson series. A new feature not apparent in the monstrous case is a property which allows us to predict the fields of definition of certain homogeneous submodules for the groups involved. For four of the groups in our system we find analogues of both the classical McKay correspondence and McKay’s monstrous Dynkin diagram observation manifesting simultaneously and compatibly.

Published 15 October 2014