[FOM] Galois and P NP
S. S. Kutateladze
sskut at math.nsc.ru
Sun Aug 15 11:16:29 EDT 2010
Galois did "circulat[e] an outright public claim" to have found a
necessary and sufficient condition for an algebraic equation to be
solvable in radicals. It is said to have languished on Cauchy's desk.
However, Tony Rothman noted in "Genius and Biographers: The Fictionalization of Evariste
Galois" (Original version published in American Mathematical
Monthly, 89, 84 (1982). Winner Ford Writing Award) as follows:
We now encounter a major myth which evidently had its origins in the very
first writings on Galois and which had been perpetuated by virtually all
writers since. This myth is the assertion that Cauchy either forgot or lost the
papers (Dupuy, Bell) or intentionally threw them out (Infeld ).
Recently, however, Rene Taton has discovered a letter of Cauchy in the
Academy archives which conclusively proves that he did not lose Galois's
memoirs but had planned to present them to the Academy in January 1830
. There is even some evidence that Cauchy encouraged Galois. I will
discuss this letter and related events in more detail below; for now I note
only that to hold Cauchy responsible for "one of the major disasters in the
history of mathematics," to paraphrase Bell ,is simply incorrect, and to
add neglect by the Academy to the list of Galois's difficulties during this
period appears entirely unwarranted.
This is just by way of clarifications.
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