4H Galois Theory

Spring 2006


Lectures   2pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and even Wednesdays (18/1, 1/2, 15/2, 1/3, 15/3), room 416
Tutorials   4pm on Thursdays, starting 19/1, room 104

This page is in addition to the official departmental page. You might also find the previous lecturer's page (2003-4) useful. There is a Galois Theory chat page specifically for your use.

The best book for the course is Ian Stewart's Galois Theory, which is clear and very popular. The University bookshop should have copies (let me know if not), and you can also order it from the usual online shops.

If you have questions, feel free to mail me (address at bottom of page) or visit me in my office (room 435).

Evariste Galois
Galois was the James Dean of mathematics: he lived fast (arrested twice for revolutionary activities) and died young (in a pistol duel over a woman, aged 20). Of course, he also invented Galois Theory, and in doing so both solved one of the outstanding problems of contemporary mathematics and sowed the seeds of modern algebra.

Niels Henrik Abel
Abel prepared the ground for Galois: he showed that there is no general formula for solving the quintic, a result that Galois later refined. He died of tuberculosis, penniless, at the age of 26.

The early deaths of Galois and Abel contributed greatly to the notion that mathematicians do their best work while very young. How's that for logic?

Paolo Ruffini
Ruffini made the PR boob of not dying young, so no one's heard of him. Nevertheless, he had most of Galois Theory worked out while Galois was still in nappies. In his lifetime, as now, he was mostly ignored.

This page was last modified on 10 January 2006.