Abel and the Theory of Algebraic Equations

(Reflections Stimulated by the Letter Abel Sent to Crelle on September 25, 1828)
  • Christian SkauEmail author
Part of the The Abel Prize book series (AP)


A letter from Abel to Crelle dated 25 September 1828—uncovered by Mittag-Leffler more than seventy years later—is a poignant document which throws considerable light upon the last three months that Abel had left for doing mathematics before tuberculosis incapacitated him, sapping all his strength, and eventually killing him. The letter raises the intriguing question of how the theory of equations (later known as Galois Theory) would have evolved if Abel had been able to write up his discoveries in this area. With the Abel letter as resonant backdrop we reflect upon this, basing our reflections on Abel’s published as well as posthumous manuscripts. Of vital importance is his discoveries in the theory of elliptic functions. The latter provided him with an abudance of algebraic equations.


Elliptic Function Galois Group Galois Theory Primitive Element Splitting Field 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematical SciencesNTNUTrondheimNorway

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