Galois Theory - Application To Classical Problems

Application To Classical Problems

The birth of Galois theory was originally motivated by the following question, whose answer is known as the Abel–Ruffini theorem.

Why is there no formula for the roots of a fifth (or higher) degree polynomial equation in terms of the coefficients of the polynomial, using only the usual algebraic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) and application of radicals (square roots, cube roots, etc)?

Galois theory not only provides a beautiful answer to this question, it also explains in detail why it is possible to solve equations of degree four or lower in the above manner, and why their solutions take the form that they do. Further, it gives a conceptually clear, and often practical, means of telling when some particular equation of higher degree can be solved in that manner.

Galois theory also gives a clear insight into questions concerning problems in compass and straightedge construction. It gives an elegant characterisation of the ratios of lengths that can be constructed with this method. Using this, it becomes relatively easy to answer such classical problems of geometry as

Which regular polygons are constructible polygons?
Why is it not possible to trisect every angle using a compass and straightedge?

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