Today is his birthday. He had only 20 of them.

French mathematician Evariste Galois was born on this day in 1811.

Evariste Galois (artist: Kim Parkhurst)

Evariste Galois (artist: Kim Parkhurst)

His life was full of promise…and turmoil.  He made major contributions to math while still a teenager, and his work was fundamental for several different fields of math including Galois Theory and Group Theory.

Although his teachers found his writing "incomprehensible."

Although his teachers found his writing “incomprehensible.”

Sadly, he died in a duel when he was only 20.

Hear about his brief impressive life in our Great Thinkers video series