Niels Henrik Abel

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  • Topic: Niels Henrik Abel, Mathematics, Quintic equation
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Niels Henrik Abel
On August 5th, 1802, Soren George Abel and Marie Simonsen gave birth to their son Niels Henrik Abel. Niels Able was born in Nedstrand, Norway (Encyclopedia Britannica). Niels grew up in a very religious family. His father, Soren had a degree in theology and philosophy. Soren was a pastor at Finnoy. As well as his father being a pastor, Niels’ grandfather, Hans Mathias Abel was a pastor at Gjerstad; where Niels’ father Soren was a chaplain during his childhood (WOLFRAM RESEARCH). When Hans passed away, Soren took over as pastor in Gjerstad. Niels’ mother, Marie was brought up in Risor, where her father Niels Henrik Saxlid Simonsen was considered the wealthiest man in Risor. In Gjerstad Marie was use to the luxurious life, thus she was in charge of throwing the balls and gatherings. (Encyclopedia Britannica) It was said that Marie was not very interested in the upbringing of their children but instead, spent a lot of time with alcohol (WOLFRAM RESEARCH). Being elected a representative of Storting, Soren created a contact with the Cathedral School in Christiania or also known as Olso, where instead of sending his eldest son Hans, Soren sent Niels (Encyclopedia Britannica). In 1815, Niels entered the Cathedral School at the age of 13. In 1816, Niels’ older brother Hans joined him at Olso. Hans and Niels shared the same room as well as sharing classes and much more at Olso. Niels and Hans loved to share rooms together and they didn’t mind sharing classes together. Although Hans was always being the one to flaunt that he was receiving better grades in the classes they shared, there was a different take on which one of the two Able brothers was the smarter of the two. This fact was proven in 1818 when Olso hired Brent Michael Holmboe, a new Mathematics professor whom had a different perspective about the brothers. Brent would send home work for the students to do and realized that Niels was very good at mathematics and he himself told Niels that he could just tell that Niels and math could have a great future if Niels spent more time on it. He thought so highly about Niels and mathematics that Brent started to give Niels private lessons in mathematics (Stubhaug). While away at school the Abel family went through a very rough stretch. In 1818 Niels father Soren had was engaged in a tense theological argument with Stener Johannes Stenersen. This theological argument included concerns and frustration about Stener’s catechism or religious thoughts about the New Testament (Encyclopedia Britannica). It was a very big deal at the time that it was being covered by the press. During this argument, Soren insulted the wrong people at the wrong time and almost left himself with nothing. Instantly returning from this argument with Stener, Soren started drinking and after two years of constant drinking, Soren passed away and left his wife and kids in some serious depression. Each one of the family members acted differently to the death or Soren. The two sons went two completely different ways. Hans was greatly depressed and decided he needed to return home and grieve at home, while Niels was given a scholarship from Brent Holmboe, his professor who thought very highly of him (Encyclopedia Britannica). Brent didn’t just stop at obtaining a scholarship to be able to stay at Olso; he also fundraised and found ways to get Niels money for him to attend the Royal Frederick University (WOLFRAM RESEARCH). In 1821, Niels attended Royal Frederick University. At this time in Niels’ life, being only 19 years of age, he was already one of the top mathematicians and was looked up to by many in the mathematical world. During his first year at Royal Frederick University, Niels started on his first piece of work, the quintic equation in radicals. He graduated with a superior status in math, but average elsewhere in 1822. Before he graduated Niels thought he found the solution to a 250 year old problem (Stubhaug). He was so sure about his...
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