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

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

ISBN13: 9780743258210
ISBN10: 0743258215
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; 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 and#201;variste Galois, both died tragically young. Their incredible labor, however, produced the origins of group theory. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; The first extensive, popular account of the mathematics of symmetry and order, andlt;iandgt;The Equation That Couldn't Be Solvedandlt;/iandgt; is 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.

Synopsis:

From the author of the bestseller "The Golden Ratio" comes the story of the 4,000-year-long mathematical quest that uncovered the laws of symmetry in nature and the arts.

About the Author

Mario Livio is a senior astrophysicist and the Head of the Office of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. He is the author of The Golden Ratio, a highly acclaimed book about mathematics and art for which he received the International Pythagoras Prize and the Peano Prize, The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved, and The Accelerating Universe.  He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface

1. Symmetry

2. eyE s'dniM eht ni yrtemmyS

3. Never Forget This in the Midst of Your Equations

4. The Poverty-Stricken Mathematician

5. The Romantic Mathematician

6. Groups

7. Symmetry Rules

8. Who's the Most Symmetrical of Them All?

9. Requiem for a Romantic Genius

Appendix 1. Card Puzzle

Appendix 2. Solving a System of Two Linear Equations

Appendix 3. Diophantus's Solution

Appendix 4. A Diophantine Equation

Appendix 5. Tartaglia's Verses and Formula

Appendix 6. Adriaan van Roomen's Challenge

Appendix 7. Properties of the Roots of Quadratic Equations

Appendix 8. The Galois Family Tree

Appendix 9. The 14-15 Puzzle

Appendix 10. Solution to the Matches Problem

Notes

References

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Craig Ensz, April 7, 2010 (view all comments by Craig Ensz)
Follow the trail through the ages to uncover the genesis of one of man kinds oldest puzzles. Mario Livio intertwines mathematical evolution with historical discovery that is both intriguing and convincing. This is not just mathematics and numbers, but a tale of mystery and fundamental analysis leading to the discovery of symmetry.



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Product Details

ISBN:
9780743258210
Author:
Livio, Mario
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
History
Subject:
Group Theory
Subject:
History -- Philosophy.
Subject:
Group theory -- History.
Subject:
Galois theory - History
Subject:
Mathematics -- History.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B102
Publication Date:
August 2006
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
100+ pieces of art t/o
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.12 in 15.785 oz

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Related Subjects


History and Social Science » Politics » General
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Group Theory
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » History
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Popular Surveys and Recreational

The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved: How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry Used Trade Paper
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Product details 368 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780743258210 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , From the author of the bestseller "The Golden Ratio" comes the story of the 4,000-year-long mathematical quest that uncovered the laws of symmetry in nature and the arts.
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