Évariste Galois (October 25, 1811 – May 31, 1832) was a French mathematician, who, while still in his teens, developed the well-known Galois theory. Galois theory is capable to determine whether a polynomial with rational coefficient can be solved by radicals and give a clear insight about what kind of length ratio can be constructed by compass and straightedge, thereby solving the long-standing problems of solving a polynomial by radicals. His life is considered to be one of the most romantic in all of mathematics because of the contributions he has made in such a short span of life.
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- ... un auteur ne nuit jamais tant à ses lecteurs que quand il dissimule une difficulté.
- ... an author never does more damage to his readers than when he hides a difficulty.
- in the preface of Deux mémoires d'Analyse pure, October 8, 1831, edited by Jules Tannery (1908). Manuscrits de Évariste Galois. Gauthier-Villars. p. 27.
- Ne pleure pas, Alfred ! J'ai besoin de tout mon courage pour mourir à vingt ans !
- Don't cry, Alfred! I need all my courage to die at twenty.
- Quoted in: Léopold Infeld (1978) Whom the gods love: the story of Évariste Galois. p. 299.
- [This] science is the work of the human mind, which is destined rather to study than to know, to seek the truth rather than to find it.
Following quotes are reproduced in The mathematical writings of Évariste Galois. (2011, edited by Peter M. Neumann).
- Nous avons transcrit textuellement la démonstration que nous avons donnée de ce lemme dans un mémoire présenté en 1830. Nous y joignons 154 IV The First Memoir comme document historique le note suivante qu’a cru ^devoir^ y apposer M. Poisson. On jugera. Note de l’auteur [We have faithfully transcribed the proof of this lemma that we have given in a memoir presented in 1830. We append as a historical document the following note which Mr Poisson believed he should add. Posterity will judge. Note by the author]
- Poisson, reading Galois' First Memoir, found the proof of Lemma III insufficient, and wrote in pencil the following comment. It angered Galois sufficiently that he wrote the above quote directly below.
- La démonstration de ce lemme n’est pas suffisante; mais il est vrai d’après le No . 100 du mémoire de Lagrange, Berlin, 1771. [The proof of this lemma is insufficient; but it is true according to No . 100 of the memoir by Lagrange, Berlin, 1771.]
- Mais je n’ai pas le temps et mes idées ne sont pas encore bien développées sur ce terrain qui est immense. [But I don't have the time and my ideas are not yet well developed on this immense terrain.]
- The Testamentary Letter of 29 May 1832
- Il parait après cela qu'il n'y a aucun fruit à tirer de la solution que nous proposons. [It seems there is no fruit to be drawn from the solution we offer.]
- Page 226, VI.4 Dossier 9: Preliminary discussion, folio 59a.
Quotes about Galois
- Langlands and Grothendieck are both (at least) Giants by any measure, and both were consciously successors of Galois.
- Michael Harris (18 January 2015). Mathematics without Apologies: Portrait of a Problematic Vocation. Princeton University Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-4008-5202-4.
- Since my mathematical youth, I have been under the spell of the classical theory of Galois. This charm has forced me to return to it again and again.
- Mario Livio (19 September 2005). The Equation that Couldn't Be Solved: How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry. Simon and Schuster. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-7432-7462-3.