Evariste Galois, the brilliant mathematician known as the ‘Pioneer of Modern Algebra’, lived a tragic but inspirational life. Despite facing resistance and being misunderstood during his time, Galois laid the foundations of group theory and made groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra. Unfortunately, his life was cut short at the young age of 20 in a duel. However, his perseverance and determination allowed him to prove the possibility of solving complex equations, solidifying his position as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time.

## Quick Facts

- French Celebrities Born In October Died At Age: 20
- Family: father: Nicolas-Gabriel Galois, mother: Adélaïde-Marie, siblings: Alfred
- Mathematicians
- French Men
- Died on: May 31, 1832
- Place of death: Paris, Kingdom of France
- Education: École Normale Supérieure, Lycée Louis-le-Grand

## Childhood and Early Life

Evariste Galois was born on 25 October 1811 in Bourg-la-Reine, French Empire. His parents, Nicolas-Gabriel Galois and Adélaïde-Marie, were well educated and embraced liberal revolutionary principles. His father was the mayor of Bourg-la-Reine and directed a school, while his mother came from a family of jurists and had a traditional education. Galois had a sister named Nathalie-Théodore and a brother named Alfred. His mother took charge of his primary education and home schooled him until the age of 12. She instilled in him the principles of an austere religion along with classical culture and literature. At the age of 12, he was enrolled at Louis-le-Grand in Paris for formal education.

## Early Years as a Mathematician

At the age of 14, Galois developed a keen interest in mathematics and enrolled in his first mathematics class. He studied works on geometry and algebra and quickly mastered the content. His class performance began to decline as he focused more on research and his ability to solve difficult mathematical calculations in his head created resentment among his teachers and classmates. In 1828, he attempted to enter the prestigious École Polytechnique but failed to clear the examination. He then entered École Normale, which was a compromise for him as it did not have the same honor as École Polytechnique.

## The Traumatizing Death of His Father

In 1829, Galois’s father committed suicide following a lethal argument with the priest of Bourg-la-Reine. This tragedy had a profound impact on Galois and affected his life for years to come.

## Repeated Attempts to Seek Admission

Galois made several attempts to seek admission to École Polytechnique but failed each time. One incident that led to his rejection involved an oral test where he had to solve a mathematical problem on the blackboard. His habit of working entirely in his head put him off balance, and a disagreement with one of the professors led to him throwing a board eraser at the professor.

## Crisis Owing to the Revolution

After his father’s death, Galois faced financial crisis due to the Revolution. To sustain himself, he offered private classes in higher algebra, but most students found the subject too difficult and stopped attending. He devoted his time to revolutionary politics and writing mathematical memoirs.

## Later Years

In 1831, Galois presented his memoir on the theory of equations to the Academy, but it was returned with a negative report. Several of his papers were rejected for being obscure. Realizing that he needed to take matters into his own hands, he published three papers with the assistance of his friend Auguste Chevalier. These papers contained important ideas that related to various branches of mathematics.

## Major Works

In 1830, Galois submitted a paper on the solvability of equations by radicals for the Grand Prix of the Academy in Mathematics. However, the paper was misplaced and not considered for the award. Despite this setback, he went on to publish three papers in 1830, including one that laid the foundations for Galois Theory.

## Personal Life & Legacy

Galois was challenged to a duel and was shot in the abdomen on 30 May 1832. He died of his injuries the next day. The reasons for the duel are uncertain, with theories ranging from a State secret agent calling the duel to a romantic involvement with his physician’s daughter. Galois died an anonymous death and was buried in an unmarked grave. It was only years later, when his letters and manuscripts were published, that he gained recognition for his contributions to mathematics.