Wed Mar 22, 2017
470 Stephens Hall, 6–7:30 PM
|Working Group in the History and Philosophy of Logic, Mathematics, and Science
Jeremy Gray (The Open University)
Theory choice: Felix Klein and Galois theory
Joint Meeting with the Office for History of Science and Technology.
In the 19th century a handful of short difficult papers about solution methods for polynomial equations grew into a vigorous branch of algebra (Galois theory) and even into a rallying cry for modern structural mathematics. The influential German mathematician Felix Klein’s well-known but little-read book The Icosahedron of 1884 played a significant, and often neglected, role in the controversies that attended the creation of these ideas. The arguments he and his opponents used range over important questions about the organisation of mathematical knowledge and the direction of research.