Evariste GALOIS : A mathematician in History

As part of the celebration of the bicentennial of Evariste Galois’ birth, the Fondation Sciences Mathématiques de Paris, the Henri Poincaré Institute and the Société Mathématique de Francehave gone into partnership in order to design an exhibition entitled “Evariste Galois, a mathematician in history”.

Galois is famous amongst mathematicians for his eponym theory, for the fact that his research have been extended in contemporary mathematics, and for his short but turbulent life. There is a striking contrast between Galois’ brevity of life and mathematical production – about sixty pages, drafts excluded – and his posthumous wealth. Several explanations have been put forward, from the premature aspect of his work as regards what mathematics were like in 1830, to its unfinished state, that would make it hard to understand for his contemporary peers. Without going back to such debates, which consist in fine to assess the quality of Galois’ mathematics, we cannot fail to underline the fertility of his research when we are about to celebrate his bicentennial.

If Galois became who he was, it is because he has been, for the past two hundred years, at the crossroads between the history of mathematics and the memory of mathematicians, who still identify with his work. In this respect, he belongs to a mathematical “now” which has been constantly renewed since 1832 up until today. Beyond his genius, this exhibition is here to remind us of the circumstances of Galois’ life as well as of the ability with which his work has been rallying mathematicians and historians for such a long time.

This exhibition recounts the important moments of Galois’ short life by replacing them in a turbulent historical context. Explanatory texts and fun activities have been set up in order to evoke Galois’ mathematical work about the algebraic solving of equations and its repercussions. Numerous photos and documents also brighten up this exhibition, making this immersion into Galois’ universe both enjoyable and instructive.

Watch the first boards of the exhibition

Commissioner of the exhibition: Caroline Ehrhardt
Guidance committee: under the direction of Cédric Villani
Page setting and script: Julien Fournigault
Illustration: Claude Gondard

We are currently unable to circulate the exhibition “Evariste Galois: a mathematician in history”. We hope to be able to make it available very soon.