Title: The Equation that couldn't be Solved


I will discuss the role of symmetry and group theory in things ranging from human perception and the selection of mates, to the arts and the laws of physics. I will also describe the history of algebraic equations and group theory, and the role played by a long chain of mathematicians. I will address specifically the question of whether symmetry is truly fundamental to the workings of the universe, or whether it represents merely a selection effect.