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



THE EQUATION THAT COULDN'T BE SOLVED: HOW Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry MARIO LIVIO Mario Livio (born 1945) is an astrophysicist and an author of works that popularize science and mathematics. He is currently Senior Astrophysicist at the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute.  

Symmetry is easily recognized in art, music, and biology, writes Livio, an astrophysicist. Mathematically, however, symmetry is complex. Many mathematicians have spent their lives attempting to unlock the secrets of symmetry. This book opens with a review of some of these efforts, including the development of algebra and the discovery of the quintic equation In mathematics, a quintic equation is a polynomial equation in which the greatest exponent on the independent variable is five. It is of the form:
where
, which resisted solution for centuries. The equation ultimately yielded to group theory, which Livio calls the "language of symmetry," Group theory was developed by two 19th-century mathematicians, Niels Henrik Abel Noun 1. Niels Henrik Abel - Norwegian mathematician (1802-1829)
Abel, Niels Abel
 and Evariste Galois Noun 1. Evariste Galois - French mathematician who described the conditions for solving polynomial equations; was killed in a duel at the age of 21 (1811-1832)
Galois
, both of whom managed their achievements during tragically short lives, Abel died of tuberculosis at 26 and Galois was killed in a duel at age 20, Livio devotes special attention to Galois, whose proof would create a new branch of algebra, The author also delves deep into groups and permutations, and describes how symmetry applies to fields as diverse as physics and psychology. Simon & Schuster Simon & Schuster

U.S. publishing company. It was founded in 1924 by Richard L. Simon (1899–1960) and M. Lincoln Schuster (1897–1970), whose initial project, the original crossword-puzzle book, was a best-seller.
, 2005, 268 p., b&w illus. and photos, hardcover, $26.95.
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Title Annotation:book by Mario Livio
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 8, 2005
Words:179
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