- Category : Mathematician
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Wishes 2
French mathematician, the brilliant developer of "group theory." Educated by his mother for the first 12 years of his life, with no special math emphasis, he won several honors in his early years of formal education until he discovered math at age 15. By age 17, he was instrumental in creating a branch of mathematics that now provides insights into areas ranging from arithmetic, crystallography, particle physics and the positions of Rubik’s cube. His group theory was not recognized until 14 years after his death, when his manuscripts were published by the French mathematician Joseph Liouville.
Galois’ father was a politician who headed up his town’s liberal party and was elected mayor of Bourg-la-Reine in 1815 during the Hundred Days, Napoleon’s first return from exile. From his mother, Galois received a solid background in Greek and Latin and a skepticism toward established religion. He did not receive much more than routine math instruction, and there is no record of previous mathematical talent on either side of his family. His formal education began in 1823 when he enrolled in a Paris preparatory school and began to develop his political sensibilities. He won several prizes in Greek and Latin, but had to repeat a year due to inadequate work in rhetoric. At age 15, he enrolled in his first mathematical class, and arrived at his niche. His genius was recognized and he published his first paper in March 1829 while still a student, entitled, "Proof of a Theorem on Periodic Continued Fractions." By that time, however, Galois had turned to equations, and at age 17 he was taking on the problem of solving equations which had eluded mathematicians for more than a century.
Galois submitted his first papers on group theory to the French Academy of Sciences on 5/25/1829 and 6/01/1829 near the end of his final year at school. He was scheduled to take an entrance exam to the Ecole Polytechnique when, on 7/02/1829, his father suffocated himself in his Paris apartment, apparently in reaction to a scandal involving his forged name on malicious epigrams directed at his own relatives. Consequently, he failed the exam, and the events would cement his hatred for the French conservative hierarchy.
By 1830, he began to publish and his articles made it clear that he had progressed beyond all others in determining equation solvability, although he hadn’t completely answered the riddle. In January 1831, he published his most important paper on group theory, which he developed to arrive at the equation solution. By the time Galois’ work on group theory was nearly finished, he had become more political. On 5/09/1831, he was arrested for plotting to overthrow the government. He was held for more than a month for proposing a toast to the French king, raising a glass and a dagger at the same time. He was arrested again on Bastille Day, 7/14/1831, for illegally wearing the uniform of the Artillery Guard. He spent eight months in prison, during which time he attempted suicide. The worst blow was the rejection of his 1831 paper.
There is much speculation surrounding his death. He had been transferred from prison to a nursing home because of a cholera epidemic in Paris in March 1832. He became briefly involved with a nurse. In a letter sent on 5/25/1832, he referred to a broken love affair. He died 6/01/1832 in Paris from gunshot wounds following a sunrise duel of honor that had occurred the day before with a political activist named Pescheux d’Herbinville. Speculation still exists as to whether the duel was over politics, or had to do with a woman.