The Equation that Couldn't Be Solved: How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry

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Simon and Schuster, 19 сент. 2005 г. - Всего страниц: 368
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What do Bach's compositions, Rubik's Cube, the way we choose our mates, and the physics of subatomic particles have in common? All are governed by the laws of symmetry, which elegantly unify scientific and artistic principles. Yet the mathematical language of symmetry-known as group theory-did not emerge from the study of symmetry at all, but from an equation that couldn't be solved.

For thousands of years mathematicians solved progressively more difficult algebraic equations, until they encountered the quintic equation, which resisted solution for three centuries. Working independently, two great prodigies ultimately proved that the quintic cannot be solved by a simple formula. These geniuses, a Norwegian named Niels Henrik Abel and a romantic Frenchman named Évariste Galois, both died tragically young. Their incredible labor, however, produced the origins of group theory.

The first extensive, popular account of the mathematics of symmetry and order, The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved is told not through abstract formulas but in a beautifully written and dramatic account of the lives and work of some of the greatest and most intriguing mathematicians in history.

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LibraryThing Review

Пользовательский отзыв  - jefware - LibraryThing

While the concept of symmetry is fascinating I think that it's application to particle physics may be like applying circles to planetary motions. Nature just isn't symmetric. This book includes a great history of the mathematics of Group Theory. Читать весь отзыв

LibraryThing Review

Пользовательский отзыв  - shushokan - LibraryThing

This book would make a good biography of Abel and Galois but is really a book about maths and not a maths book (if you can see the distinction). We get the intimate details of the two mathematicians ... Читать весь отзыв


1 Symmetry
2 eyE sdniM eht ni yrtemmyS
3 Never Forget This in the Midst of Your Equations
4 The PovertyStricken Mathematician
5 The Romantic Mathematician
6 Groups
7 Symmetry Rules
8 Whos the Most Symmetrical of Them All?
Appendix 4 A Diophantine Equation
Appendix 5 Tartaglias Verses and Formula
Appendix 6 Adriaan van Roomens Challenge
Appendix 7 Properties of the Roots of Quadratic Equations
Appendix 8 The Galois Family Tree
Appendix 9 The 1415 Puzzle
Appendix 10 Solution to the Matches Problem

9 Requiem for a Romantic Genius
Appendix 1 Card Puzzle
Appendix 2 Solving a System of Two Linear Equations
Appendix 3 Diophantuss Solution

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Об авторе (2005)

Mario Livio is an internationally known astrophysicist, a bestselling author, and a popular speaker who has appeared on The Daily Show, 60 Minutes, and NOVA. He is the author of the bestsellers The Golden Ratio, Brilliant Blunders, and Galileo. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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