(October 25, 1811 – May 31, 1832)

Known for his brilliance as much as for his boorish sociopolitical activism, Évariste Galois was a prodigy who made lasting contributions to mathematics: despite living for only 20 years. He cut his teeth with the works of Adrien-Marie Legendre and Joseph-Louis Lagrange (from whom he drew inspirations). He would later become the first person to apply the term “group” as we do now in contemporary algebra. A genius nonpareil, Galois solved a 350 year-old problem by deducing the logical conditions necessary for polynomials to become solvable by radicals. His works on Abstract Algebra are deep, far-reaching and extraordinary. They are often compared to those of Niels Henrik Abel (another impecunious genius who died young). Although Abel was the first person who proved conclusively that some polynomials have no algebraic solution, it was Galois that delineated the “necessary and sufficient” conditions required for such solutions to exist. He advanced the Abelian Integrals, the Continued Fractions, and his own Galois Connections. His concept of normal subgroup is as extensive as that of his finite field, which is now called Galois field. In addition to Algebra, Évariste Galois worked on other branches such as: Analysis and Number Theory. Although he did not live long enough to publish many treatises, his short life saw him initiate novelties which secured him a spot in the lounge of the greatest mathematicians. Several of his concepts are named after him. Also dedicated to his memory is the 222-kilometer-wide Galois lunar crater, which verges that of Sergei Korolev.

20 Comments

  1. This is one of the most careless geniuses in history. I often imagine what would have been his legacy, had he avoided the unnecessary risks he took.

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