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).