Galois’ Story

The story of Evariste Galois is a romantic tragedy befitting his time. Unless you’re a maths insider you’ve probably have never heard of him, but he has a greater impact on your life than you realise. Every time you use an ATM, buy online, or play a DVD, Galois maths is silently at work behind the scenes making sure your money is safe and your images are crystal clear.
Galois’ dream was to study at the Ecole Polytechnic in Paris under some of the all time greats. He was more than talented enough, but failed all of his exams. Legend has it that Galois was so bored by the exam question in his last attempt that he threw a blackboard rag at the examiners head. Not one of my recommended exam techniques.
For raw talent he was unmatched. Self taught in mathematics, by the age of 18 Galois had completely solved a thorny mathematical problem that had stumped mathematicians for over 1000 years. It wasn’t recognised until after his death. Living in Paris during the French revolution, Galois was a political firebrand and spent time in prison for his political activity. He died in a duel at the age of 20. We don’t know why: some say the duel was over love, others say it was political.
Galois life was short and turbulent but he had enormous impact all the same. He has left a very big mark on mathematics and even technology, 200 years after he lived. Who knows what would have become of him had he achieved his dream, possibly he may have become the greatest. But maybe is story was meant to be.
You may not have the maths talent of Galois, but you have your own special talents to make your own mark. Like Galois, we can all do with some support and guidance to help get past the hurdles life puts along the way.