- Volume 27 Issue 3
After algebraic expressions for the roots of 3rd and 4th degree polynomial equations were given in the mid 16th century, seeking such a formula for the 5th and greater degree equations had been one main problem for algebraists for almost 200 years. Lagrange made careful and thorough investigation of various solving methods for equations with the purpose of finding a principle which could be applicable to general equations. In the process of doing this, he found a relation between the roots of the original equation and its auxiliary equation using permutations of the roots. Lagrange's ingenious idea of using permutations of roots of the original equation is regarded as the key factor of the Abel's proof of unsolvability by radicals of general 5th degree equations and of Galois' theory as well. This paper intends to examine Lagrange's contribution in the theory of polynomial equations, providing a detailed analysis of various solving methods of Lagrange and others before him.
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