For centuries the phenomenon of symmetry had defied mathematicians' attempts to define it in a single equation. The attempt to create this equation, the quintic equation, would open up a route to group theory, and group theory lies at the heart of modern science and modern technology. The discovery of group theory paved the way for Einstein s theory of general relativity, modern physics and the search for a unifying theory of the cosmos. I have no time , wrote Evariste Galois in the margin of his manuscript which finally solved the quintic equation, and invented a new branch of mathematics, that of group theory. Aged only twenty he died shortly after in a duel, regarded as one of the greatest scholars of his age and as a revolutionary in Louis Philippe s France he was a member of the same republican society as Alexandre Dumas (and was imprisoned along with the poet Gerard de Nerval for his political sympathies).