Equation That Couldn't Be Solved How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry

ISBN-10: 0743258215

ISBN-13: 9780743258210

Edition: 2006

Authors: Mario Livio

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Description:

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 Solvedis 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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Book details

List price: $15.00
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 9/1/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 368
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

Mario Livio was born in 1945 in Romania. When he was 5 years old, he immigrated with his grandparents to Israel. He received undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a M.Sc. degree in theoretical particle physics at the Weizmann Institute, and a Ph.D. in theoretical astrophysics at Tel-Aviv University. He was a professor of physics at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology from 1981 until 1991. He is a senior astrophysicist at the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute. He has published over 400 scientific papers. He has also written several books including The Accelerating Universe, The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved, Is God a Mathematician?, and Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe. The Golden Ratio received the International Pythagoras Prize and the Peano Prize.

Preface
Symmetry
eyE s'dniM eht ni yrtemmyS
Never Forget This in the Midst of Your Equations
The Poverty-Stricken Mathematician
The Romantic Mathematician
Groups
Symmetry Rules
Who's the Most Symmetrical of Them All?
Requiem for a Romantic Genius
Card Puzzle
Solving a System of Two Linear Equations
Diophantus's Solution
A Diophantine Equation
Tartaglia's Verses and Formula
Adriaan van Roomen's Challenge
Properties of the Roots of Quadratic Equations
The Galois Family Tree
The 14-15 Puzzle
Solution to the Matches Problem
Notes
References
Index
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