Évariste Galois

The science library at uni has a display out the front where they put topical exhibitions up which change from time to time.

This week they put one up celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Évariste Galois (b. 25 Oct, 1811).

Galois was a french mathematician who founded that basis for a large part of modern number theory, part of which was named after him, Galois Theory.

He was arrogant and worked somewhat messily, he had a lot of his work rejected by his peers during his life. It was only after his death that a friend of his, Joseph Liouville,  took the time to make what he had started understandable, and Galois Theory was founded.

He was a revolutionary during his life, served in the the Republican artillery, and spent a few stretches in prison for activities mainly related to protests.

He managed all of this before dying  at the age of twenty, from wounds suffered in a dual, spending his last hours preparing his notes for Liouville to read upon his death.

Compared to this, modern mathematicians can be considered a fairly boring lot.

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