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Niels Abel

Niels Abel

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Published by Jorge Romero

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Published by: Jorge Romero on Oct 22, 2008
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02/25/2011

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N
IELS
H
ENRIK
A
BEL
and the theory of equations
1H
ENRIK
K
RAGH
S
ØRENSEN
History of Science DepartmentUniversity of Aarhus, Denmark hkragh@imf.au.dk November 19, 1999
1
Appendix of my progress report
 
ii
 
Contents
1 Introduction12 Early aspects of the theory of equations5
2.1 The existence of roots. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52.2 Characterizing roots. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62.3 Resolvent equations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82.4 Algebraic solvability. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
3 “Study the masters!”15
3.1 J. L. L
AGRANGE
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163.1.1 Formal values of functions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173.1.2 The emergence of permutation theory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183.1.3 L
AGRANGE
’s resolvents. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183.1.4
Waring’s formulae
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203.2 C. F. G
AUSS
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213.2.1 The division problem for the circle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223.2.2 Irreducibility of the equation
x
n
1
x
1
= 0
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233.2.3 Outline of G
AUSS
’s proof . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
4 Belief in algebraic solvability shaken29
4.1 “Infinite labor”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294.2 Outright impossibility. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
5 P. R
UFFINI
and A.-L. C
AUCHY
33
5.1 Unsolvability proven. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 335.1.1 R
UFFINI
’s first proof . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 345.1.2 R
UFFINI
’s final proof . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375.2 Permutation theory and a new proof of R
UFFINI
’s theorem. . . . . . . . 38
6 Algebraic unsolvability of the quintic43
6.1 The first break with tradition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 446.2 Outline of A
BEL
’s proof . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 456.3 Classification of algebraic expressions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 466.3.1 Orders and degrees. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 476.3.2 Standard form. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 486.3.3 Expressions which satisfy a given equation. . . . . . . . . . . . 496.4 A
BEL
and the theory of permutations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 526.5 Permutations linked to root extractions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54iii

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