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# The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved: How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry

by
Mario Livio (Goodreads Author)

What do Bach's compositions, Rubik's Cube, the way we choose our mates, and the physics of subatomic particles have in common? All are governed by the laws of symmetry, which elegantly unify scientific and artistic principles. Yet the mathematical language of symmetry-known as group theory-did not emerge from the study of symmetry at all, but from an equation that couldn't
...more

Paperback, 368 pages

Published
September 1st 2006
by Simon & Schuster
(first published 2005)

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## Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,656)

*"Đây là một trong những tài liệu đầy đủ và sâu sắc nhất về Galois, cậu biết chưa ?"*Trước đó, cái tên Mario Livio đã mang đến cho tôi đủ thất vọng với

*"Chúa trời có phải là nhà toán học"*, ngoài ra, chuyện đối xứng và lịch sử việc giải các phương trình đối với tôi, từ lâu đã không còn là vấn đề xa lạ. Hơn thế, tôi vẫn vỗ ngực là mình có nhiều và đủ hiể ...more

Livio traces the development in mathematics over the broad strokes of history. It is a history of brilliant minds solving progressively more difficult algebraic equatio ...more

they had made impressive upon the human being from math. .

There are lots of games coming from symmetry.

ex. tetris

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetris

Polyomino

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyomino

15 puzzle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15_puzzle

Rubik's Cube

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubik%2...

etc.............

you can play every games coming from symmetry. LOL LOL LOL

This book takes the same approach as many other similar books, focusing on the history (tragic in the case of Galois and Abel) and personalities, rather than the details of the mathematics.

This is a delightful read!

Highly recommended!

The author does well when he recounts history and biography, as in the middle chapters, but he has difficulty explaining things, mostly because he avoids details and elaboration. Topics that I wish he had spent pages on, he skims over in a mere paragraph. Topics he spends pages on deserve ...more

La storia di Evariste Galois, in compenso, è raccontata con dovizia di particolari, lasciando spazio alle varie ipotesi sulle cause della sua morte.

Tutto sommato, è un libro interessante ...more

Because it's not really a book about math, it's a book about mathematicians. Very different subject, really. There is the baffling tale, which I'm still not certain if I believe, that in 1500's Venice, mathematicians would face off ...more

It certainly wasn't bad, but it was written at a lower level than I would have liked. I had to read through explanations of terms and ideas that I was already familiar with, which was frustrating, and while I liked the variety of topics that the book explored, the author often didn't discuss each topic ...more

*The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved*feels a bit unorganized, but what is is a decent read. The concepts are abstract and generally hard to grasp, but I found myself enjoying Livio's brief biographies of Galois and Abel more than the mathematical parts of the book themselves.

I would say that this isn't really for anyone without a decent mathematical background, but anyone considering reading the book is probably at least ...more

Livio's unpacking of Galois's life and proofs make fo ...more

I really wish more teachers would assign historical works to help students better understand that while math has generally been advanced one person at a time, that it is not unattainable or even not useful at the higher l ...more

On the positive side there are nice biographies. I personally like the treatment of Abel and Galois. There is also historical overview including Renaissance Italy's Cardano and Tartaglia, but that's about it.

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“The key point to keep in mind, however, is that symmetry is one of the most important tools in deciphering nature's design.”
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“While composite faces tend, by construction, to also be more symmetric, Langlois found that even after the effects of symmetry have been controlled, averageness was still judged to be attractive. These findings argue for a certain level of prototyping in the mind, since averageness might well be coupled with a prototypical template.”
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