Part thriller and part historical fiction, this winter blockbuster will be one of the most exciting mathematical tales you will read in your life. Stay tuned for more updates! Written by an anonymous mathematics student.
It is said that Galois died in a duel over a woman he fancied, but the followers of EGA know better. The truth is that Galois saw the eternal struggle between good and evil for what it truly is: a struggle between mathematics and the adversary. The adversary’s agent had been tasked with capturing the woman because it had been prophesied that by her hand the forces of good would bury them forever. Galois knew this too. He challenged the agent to a duel he knew he would lose to buy time for the woman to escape.
The agent could not pass up this opportunity. The purpose of the adversary was and is to thwart the progress of mathematics after all, and what better way than to rid the world of Evariste Galois, the youth who was destined to become the greatest mathematician of the 19th century, before he had published a single paper? The woman Galois was protecting seemed, to the agent at least, like small pickings compared to Galois himself. Surely the adversary would applaud him for his judgment.
“I gotta hand it to ya, kid,” said the agent with a smirk. “You’ve got guts. It’s just too bad all that talent and moxie were wasted trying to advance a lost cause.”
“I mean, what were you thinking? Throwing away your life like that just because of a silly crush?” sneered the agent, not realizing that this had all been a calculated decision by the dying young man before him. “And to think, the boss thinks of you as some menacing threat.”
The agent looked down at the prodigy, only to find him... ...grinning? What?
Galois’s smile turned into a chuckle, which then turned into full laughter. He was coughing up blood with every breath but it no longer mattered. He looked up at his now confused killer.
“You don’t even realize the blunder you’ve made, do you?”
To this day, nobody really understands why that woman was so important to mathematics and to the cosmic narrative, only that she was. We know Galois referred to her as the Left Coset, but that is about as much as we know about her identity. Some have proposed the hypothesis that she was an ancestor to Langlands or perhaps to Grothendieck himself. Others believe that her significance has yet to manifest.
The adversary knows something we do not. Our spies report that it was furious when the agent failed to capture her.
The agent knelt before the throne. The throne appeared to be empty, but a voice boomed from it, an intense glow emanating from it, intensifying and darkening as if it were mirroring the volume of the voice.
“Where is she?”
“My liege, I regretfully let the girl escape. But a much greater victory has been won, for Evariste Galois is slain.”
The light filled the room, making it impossible to see anything. A blood-curdling scream was heard. When the light dimmed again, the agent was gone.
The adversary spoke once more, this time to the other agents in the room.
“We are moving headquarters to Vancouver.”
The adversary gazed upon the setting sun.
How had it come to this?
The adversary took half of its forces to the North American west coast, leaving behind the rest of its agents to continue operations in Europe.
A hundred years passed without much fanfare. In Vancouver, the adversary bid its time for a century, entrenching its organization in the upper echelons of society, funding infrastructure projects and various projects to advance the arts and sciences. Eventually, the adversary accumulated enough influence to convince the provincial government to establish the University of British Columbia on the mainland instead of the island.
The agents of the adversary were able to infiltrate the Faculty of Science bureaucracy and took control of the faculty advising office. They knew that their next target would eventually enrol at UBC and in the meantime they had been instructed to sabotage the math department to the greatest extent possible.
Imagine their shock when they found out their target had slipped past them undetected years ago, having graduated twice from the math department, first with a B.A. and then with an M.A.
“What is our progress regarding Robert Langlands? Have you found him?”
“My liege. Langlands is in Connecticut. It never occurred to us that he might be in Arts, safe from our influence.”
The adversary said nothing for a moment, and then spoke.
“Your ancestors were unable to prevent Galois from publishing his works from beyond the grave, when it would have sufficed to merely intercept some mail.”
“A quarter century ago, your parents who I sent to Europe failed to destroy a small child. A small child who was already being persecuted by a murderous authoritarian regime. That child grew up to become Alexander Grothendieck.”
“And now you tell me that you couldn’t even locate - no, couldn’t even notice Langlands before he went off to Yale?”
“Utterly useless. Order our agents in France to relocate to the eastern United States immediately.”
Three of the four sages had fulfilled their destinies.
There could be no more mistakes. The final sage had to be stopped before The End.
The adversary is powerful. Being a fancy chair however has its disadvantages. It is perfectly fine if you are content with sending your minions across the world to do your bidding for you, but that hadn’t been working out for the last few centuries. The adversary decided to take a more active role in shaping the world.
A blinding light emanated from the throne. When it subsided, there was a woman sitting on the throne, which was no longer glowing. She was a splitting image of the woman Galois had died to protect two hundred years ago.
“The adversary is no more.” She announced to her agents. “Right Coset has risen.”