Paging Mr. Affleck and Mr. Damon

Évariste Galois

The untutored thug mathematician in the movie Good Will Hunting was supposedly based on the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, who did his first work as a self-taught unknown in faraway Tamil Nadu, but for the thug part Évariste Galois would have been a far better choice:

On the following Bastille Day, Galois was at the head of a protest, wearing the uniform of the disbanded artillery, and came heavily armed with several pistols, a rifle, and a dagger. For this, he was again arrested, this time sentenced to six months in prison for illegally wearing a uniform. He was released on April 29, 1832. During his imprisonment, he continued developing his mathematical ideas.

Published in: on February 20, 2010 at 9:47 pm  Comments (1)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. At an academic party, I recounted the story that Galois, when challenged to a duel, stayed up all night trying to write up his results in what is now called Galois theory. Sadly, he didn’t finish and he died in the duel.

    A physicist friend of mine responded:

    “Ha! Typical mathematician. If he’d of stayed up all night practicing with his pistol, he could have written up his results at his leisure.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: