**Évariste Galois** was a French mathematician who produced a method of determining when a general equation could be solved by radicals and is famous for his development of early group theory. He died very young after fighting a duel.

- The starting point of the historical events which were to play a major role in Galois' life is surely the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789.
- Galois was by this time at school.
- Galois was not involved and during 1824-25 his school record is good and he received several prizes.
- However in 1826 Galois was asked to repeat the year because his work in rhetoric was not up to the required standard.
- February 1827 was a turning point in Galois' life.
- Galois' school reports began to describe him as singular, bizarre, original and closed.
- In 1828 Galois took the examination of the École Polytechnique but failed.
- It was the leading University of Paris and Galois must have wished to enter it for academic reasons.
- Back at Louis-le-Grand, Galois enrolled in the mathematics class of Louis Richard.
- In April 1829 Galois had his first mathematics paper published on continued fractions in the Annales de mathématiques.
- Cauchy was appointed as referee of Galois' paper.
- The priest of Bourg-la-Reine forged Mayor Galois' name on malicious forged epigrams directed at Galois' own relatives.
- Galois therefore resigned himself to enter the École Normale, which was an annex to Louis-le-Grand, and to do so he had to take his Baccalaureate examinations, something he could have avoided by entering the École Polytechnique.
- Galois sent Cauchy further work on the theory of equations, but then learned from Bulletin de Férussac of a posthumous article by Abel which overlapped with a part of his work.
- Galois then took Cauchy's advice and submitted a new article On the condition that an equation be soluble by radicals in February 1830.
- Fourier died in April 1830 and Galois' paper was never subsequently found and so never considered for the prize.
- Galois, after reading Abel and Jacobi's work, worked on the theory of elliptic functions and abelian integrals.
- Galois tried to scale the wall to join the rioting but failed.
- Guigniault wrote newspaper articles attacking the students and Galois wrote a reply in the Gazette des Écoles, attacking M.
- For this letter Galois was expelled and he joined the Artillery of the National Guard, a Republican branch of the militia.
- In January 1831 Galois attempted to return to mathematics.
- Galois was invited by Poisson to submit a third version of his memoir on equation to the Academy and he did so on 17 January.
- On 18 April Sophie Germain wrote a letter to her friend the mathematician Libri which describes Galois' situation.
- Fourier, have been too much for this student Galois who, in spite of his impertinence, showed signs of a clever disposition.
- During the dinner Galois raised his glass and with an open dagger in his hand appeared to make threats against the King, Louis-Phillipe.
- After the dinner Galois was arrested and held in Sainte-Pélagie prison.
- Galois, rather surprisingly since he essentially repeated the threat from the dock, was acquitted.
- The 14th of July was Bastille Day and Galois was arrested again.
- Galois was sent back to Sainte-Pélagie prison.
- He did, however, encourage Galois to publish a more complete account of his work.
- While in Sainte-Pélagie prison Galois attempted to commit suicide by stabbing himself with a dagger but the other prisoners prevented him.
- In March 1832 a cholera epidemic swept Paris and prisoners, including Galois, were transferred to the pension Sieur Faultrier.
- After he was released on 29 April Galois exchanged letters with Stephanie, and it is clear that she tried to distance herself from the affair.
- The name Stephanie appears several times as a marginal note in one of Galois' manuscripts.
- Galois fought a duel with Perscheux d'Herbinville on 30 May, the reason for the duel not being clear but certainly linked with Stephanie.
- Galois was wounded in the duel and was abandoned by d'Herbinville and his own seconds and found by a peasant.
- It had been Galois' wish that Jacobi and Gauss should give their opinions on his work.
- Liouville published these papers of Galois in his Journal in 1846.
- The theory that Galois outlined in these papers is now called Galois theory.

Born 25 October 1811, Bourg La Reine (near Paris), France. Died 31 May 1832, Paris, France.

View full biography at MacTutor

Algebra, Group Theory

**O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive