On page 10 of this article (in Portuguese), I read that Galois used the following phrase when his memoirs weren't accepted by the French Academy of Sciences:

Oh! Innocent cherubs!

Could someone give references or details on this quote?


1 Answer 1


This is a scanned PDF of Evariste's work, that includes the memoir you're mentioning (parent page):

See the left part of page #3:

enter image description here

The only explanation I could find is here (French).

Galois wrote this "Oh ! Chérubins" on the back of the cover sheet after the memoir had been (again) rejected. Presumably this is addressed to Mr. Lacroix and Mr. Poisson, whom Galois considers to be responsible for the rejection.

"Oh ! Chérubins" may be considered as a both condescending and sarcastic cry.
However, even for a French speaker, this is hard to interpret, since this expression is not common at all. In French, the word "Chérubin" is a kind of angel, or, in the colloquial language, an innocent child. Anyway, this word is not very common.

[EDIT] I've found another version of the paper in an old magazine I had bought 20 years ago. Oddly, the stains do not look the same, but the text itself matches perfectly. I've scanned this from "Pour la Science - Les génies de la science - n°14 - Evariste Galois" (February 2003):

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Could it be sort of "Oh my god!"? $\endgroup$
    – OON
    Nov 11, 2020 at 10:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Could be, but not quite sure; "Oh my god" is about being surprised (isn't it?), while "Oh ! Chérubins" sounds addressed to someone, in a condescending tone. I see it like a "Much to learn, you still have, my young padawan" thrown to Mr. Lacroix and Mr. Poisson. $\endgroup$
    – Evariste
    Nov 11, 2020 at 14:14

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