The Genesis of the Abstract Group Concept
A Contribution to the History of the Origin of Abstract Group Theory
In this book, Hans Wussing sets out to trace the process of abstraction that led finally to the axiomatic formulation of the abstract notion of group. His main thesis is that the roots of the abstract notion of group do not lie, as frequently assumed, only in the theory of algebraic equations; they are also to be found in the geometry and the theory of numbers of the end of the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries. The book takes us from Lagrange via Cauchy, Abel, and Galois to Serret and Camille Jordan. It then turns to Cayley, to Felix Klein's Erlangen Program, and to Sophus Lie, and ends with a sketch of the state of group theory about 1920, when the axiom systems of Webber had been formalized and investigated in their own right.