Amir Alexander Duel at Dawn: --> reviewed by Martin Gardner -->

The title of Amir Alexander’s new book (his second) and the beautiful unidentified landscape painting on its jacket, refer to an early dawn duel on a deserted street in Paris. On May 30, 1892. Éveraste Galois, a brilliant young mathematician who pioneered the study of groups, a branch of abstract algebra, was killed in a ridiculous pistol duel over a woman. The duel was so little newsworthy that to this day no one knows for sure who shot Galois in the stomach and left him to die. He was twenty. As soon as Galois was buried, a legend formed about him. He became a martyr unjustly scorned by the French establishment, a scorn that contributed to his poverty and early death. This myth found its...


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