Fermat's Last Theorem : The Story of a Riddle That Confounded the World's Greatest Minds for 358 Years, Paperback

Fermat's Last Theorem : The Story of a Riddle That Confounded the World's Greatest Minds for 358 Years Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)

Description

'I have a truly marvellous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain.' It was with these words, written in the 1630s, that Pierre de Fermat intrigued and infuriated the mathematics community.

For over 350 years, proving Fermat's Last Theorem was the most notorious unsolved mathematical problem, a puzzle whose basics most children could grasp but whose solution eluded the greatest minds in the world.

In 1993, after years of secret toil, Englishman Andrew Wiles announced to an astounded audience that he had cracked Fermat's Last Theorem.

He had no idea of the nightmare that lay ahead. In 'Fermat's Last Theorem' Simon Singh has crafted a remarkable tale of intellectual endeavour spanning three centuries, and a moving testament to the obsession, sacrifice and extraordinary determination of Andrew Wiles: one man against all the odds.

Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages, (B/w integrated)
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Number theory
  • ISBN: 9781841157917

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Reviews

Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by
1

Five out of ten.

Cambridge mathematician Andrew Wiles announced a solution for Fermat's last theorem in 1993 but after a flaw was discovered in the proof, Wiles had to work for another year--he had already laboured in solitude for seven years--to establish that he had solved the 350-year-old problem.

Review by
5

Fermat's Last Theorem begins with Pythagoras, goes through Fermat's positing of his theorem, the attempts by Euler and others to solve it, and culminates with Andrew Wiles's solution. It is generally entertaining and has the occasional equation, with a few more in the Appendix. But most of the relatively light analytical machinery in the book is devoted to ancillary problems or general illustrations, Singh does not even go beyond an extremely superficial description of the main feature of Fermat's proof in the case of n=4. Instead a lot of the space is filled with detours that are often found in these sorts of books, from the role of women in French mathematics in the 19th Century to the puzzle fad in the early 20th Century. In that way this book fell short of Singh's Big Bang which felt more focused and a little more thorough in trying to describe how scientists discovered what they did about the big bang.

Review by
5

Fermat's Last Theorem begins with Pythagoras, goes through Fermat's positing of his theorem, the attempts by Euler and others to solve it, and culminates with Andrew Wiles's solution. It is generally entertaining and has the occasional equation, with a few more in the Appendix. But most of the relatively light analytical machinery in the book is devoted to ancillary problems or general illustrations, Singh does not even go beyond an extremely superficial description of the main feature of Fermat's proof in the case of n=4. Instead a lot of the space is filled with detours that are often found in these sorts of books, from the role of women in French mathematics in the 19th Century to the puzzle fad in the early 20th Century. In that way this book fell short of Singh's Big Bang which felt more focused and a little more thorough in trying to describe how scientists discovered what they did about the big bang.

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