Equation that couldn't be solved : how mathematical genius discovered the language of symmetry
By: Livio, Mario.Material type: BookPublisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, ©2005Description: xii, 353 p. : ill.; 25 cm.ISBN: 9780743258210.Subject(s): Group theory -- History | Galois theory -- History | Symmetric functions -- History | Symmetry (Mathematics) -- History | Diophantine analysis -- History
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Includes bibliographical references (p. [309-332]) and index.
1. Symmetry -- 2. eyE s'dniM eht ni yrtemmyS -- 3. Never forget this in the midst of your equations -- 4. The poverty-stricken mathematician -- 5. The romantic mathematician -- 6. Groups -- 7. Symmetry rules -- 8. Who's the most symmetrical of them all? -- 9. Requiem for a romantic genius -- App. 1. Card puzzle -- App. 2. Solving a system of two linear equations -- App. 3. Diophantus's solution -- App. 4. A diophantine equation -- App. 5. Tartaglia's verses and formula -- App. 6. Adriaan van Roomen's challenge -- App. 7. Properties of the roots of quadratic equations -- App. 8. The Galois family tree -- App. 9. The 14-15 puzzle -- App. 10. Solution to the matches problem.
"Over the millennia, mathematicians solved progressively more difficult algebraic equations until they came to what is known as the quintic equation. For several centuries it resisted solution, until two mathematical prodigies independently discovered that it could not be solved by the usual methods, thereby opening the door to group theory. These young geniuses, a Norwegian named Niels Henrik Abel and a Frenchman named Evariste Galois, both died tragically. Galois, in fact, spent the night before his fatal duel (at the age of twenty) scribbling another brief summary of his proof, at one point writing in the margin of his notebook "I have no time."" "The story of the equation that couldn't be solved is a story of brilliant mathematicians and a fascinating account of how mathematics illuminates a wide variety of disciplines. In this book, Mario Livio shows in an easily accessible way how group theory explains the symmetry and order of both the natural and the human-made worlds."--BOOK JACKET.