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Neils Henrik Abel, Norwegian mathematician (1802- 1829). Abel was the eldest son of a Lutheran minister. He went to university in Oslo but on the death of his father he left to support his large family. He visited France and Germany in 1825, but failed to find a university post. Abel largely founded the theory of groups and he also showed that the general fifth degree equation is not solvable algebraically. He revolutionized the area of elliptical integrals and contributed to the theory of infinite series. After a life of poverty he died of tuberculosis at the age of 26. Two days later a letter arrived offering him the professorship of mathematics at Berlin University.
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