I am looking for the translated manuscript of Abel where he proved the unsolvability of the quintic. Can anyone give me a pointer? I tried Google, but nothing came up.

  • $\begingroup$ I found it (scanned) here, and did take a peek at it (I do read German). Filed under "read when I have some free time" though... $\endgroup$
    – vonbrand
    Nov 19, 2015 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ Translated to what language? :-) $\endgroup$ Nov 19, 2015 at 21:15
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry. Translated to english. @AlexandreEremenko $\endgroup$ Nov 20, 2015 at 1:35
  • $\begingroup$ Note that Abel wrote two versions of this proof, a very brief one in 1824 and a more expanded one in 1826. $\endgroup$
    – Per Manne
    Nov 20, 2015 at 13:39

2 Answers 2


Peter Pesic's popular math book Abel's Proof: An Essay on the Sources and Meaning of Mathematical Unsolvability contains the author's own translation of Abel's 1824 paper as an appendix. He also has some annotated notes which make understanding the exposition easier.


I have doubts that it was translated into English. French and German works often go untranslated because it is assumed that most English speaking mathematicians can make out enough from the original. The original publication of Abel's collected works was in French. MAA hails old German translation without mentioning anything about English one, and promotes English translation of Abel's elliptic functions paper, but not the quintic one.

I took pdf of the French manuscript, put it through Adobe Acrobat's OCR and saved it as a Word document, then translated that using Google Tranlate translator toolkit. The result is messy but looking at it next to the French text and formulas I can understand most of it.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Google translate, or any automatic translation that exists cannot be used to translate mathematics: you always obtain nonsense. $\endgroup$ Nov 19, 2015 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ We should have a translated copy, don't you think guys, I mean most people doesn't understand french or german anyway. $\endgroup$ Nov 20, 2015 at 1:38

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