Niels Henrik Abel

Niels Henrik Abel He was born on August 5, 1802 in Finnoy, Norway, and died on April 16, 1829 in Froland, Norway. He proved the impossibility of algebraically solving the general fifth degree equation.

Abel's life was dominated by poverty. After the death of his father, who was a Protestant minister in 1820, Abel had a responsibility to support his mother and family. Abel's teacher, Holmboe, recognized his talent for math, raised money from his colleagues to allow Abel to attend Christiania University. He entered the university in 1821, 10 years after the foundation of the university, and graduated in 1822.

In 1823 Abel published documents on functional and integral equations. In these, Abel gives the first solution of an integral equation. In 1824 he proved the impossibility of algebraically solving the general equation of the fifth degree and published it at his own expense, hoping to gain recognition for his work. He eventually won a Norwegian government scholarship for travel, visiting Germany and France.

Abel was instrumental in establishing mathematical analysis on a rigorous basis. Your main job Recherches sur les fonctions elliptiques It was published in 1827 in the first volume of Crelle's Diary, the first diary devoted entirely to mathematics. Abel met Crelle on her visit to Germany.

After visiting Paris he returned to Norway with many debts. While in Paris he visited a doctor who informed him that he had tuberculosis. Despite his poor health and poverty, he continued writing papers on equation theory and elliptic functions of major importance in the development of the whole theory. Abel revolutionized the understanding of elliptic functions by studying the inverse of these functions.

Abel sleighed to visit his fiancée at Christmas 1828 in Froland. He became seriously ill during the sleigh journey and died months later.

Bibliography: Dictionary of Scientific Biography; Biography in Encyclopaedia Britannica; Ore, Niels Henrik Abel, Mathematician Extraordinary (New York, 1974); E T Bell, Men of Mathematics (New York, 1986), 307-326; H. Wussing, Abel, in H. Wussing and W. Arnold, Biographien bedeutender Mathematiker (Berlin, 1983); MI Rosen, Niels Henrik Abel and the equation of the fifth degree, Amer. Math Monthly 102 (1995), 495-505

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