David Chester, Alessio Marrani, Michael Rios (2023)
In 26+1 space-time dimensions, we introduce a gravity theory whose massless spectrum can be acted upon by the Monster group when reduced to 25+1 dimensions. This theory generalizes M-theory in many respects and we name it Monstrous M-theory, or M2-theory. Upon Kaluza-Klein reduction to 25+1 dimensions, the M2-theory spectrum irreducibly splits as 1⊕196,883, where 1 is identified with the dilaton, and 196,883 is the dimension of the smallest non-trivial representation of the Monster. This provides a field theory explanation of the lowest instance of the Monstrous Moonshine, and it clarifies the definition of the Monster as the automorphism group of the Griess algebra, by showing that such an algebra is not merely a sum of unrelated spaces, but descends from massless states for M2-theory, which includes Horowitz and Susskind’s bosonic M-theory as a subsector. Further evidence is provided by the decomposition of the coefficients of the partition function of Witten’s extremal Monster SCFT in terms of representations of SO24, the massless little group in 25+1; the purely bosonic nature of the involved SO24-representations may be traced back to the unique feature of 24 dimensions, which allow for a non-trivial generalization of the triality holding in 8 dimensions. Last but not least, a certain subsector of M2-theory, when coupled to a Rarita-Schwinger massless field in 26+1, exhibits the same number of bosonic and fermionic degrees of freedom; we cannot help but conjecture the existence of a would-be =1 supergravity theory in 26+1 space-time dimensions.