Printer Friendly

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

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, 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 and Evariste 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, 2005, 268 p., b&w illus. and photos, hardcover, $26.95.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:book by Mario Livio
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 8, 2005
Previous Article:Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget.
Next Article:The Best American science writing: 2005.

Related Articles
Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics.
Integrating Children's Literature and Mathematics in the Classroom: Children as Meaning Makers, Problem Solvers and Literary Critics.
Geochemistry: an Introduction.
Resnick, Mike. Lady with an alien; an encounter with Leonardo da Vinci.
A Briefer History of Time.
The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved.
The Equations: Icons of Knowledge.
Linear Algebra Demystified.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters