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Fermat's enigma : the epic quest to solve the world's greatest mathematical problem

Author: Simon Singh
Publisher: New York : Walker, 1997.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Fermat's Last Theorem became the Holy Grail of mathematics. Whole and colorful lives were devoted, and even sacrificed, to finding a proof. Leonhard Euler, the greatest mathematician of the eighteenth century, had to admit defeat. Sophie Germain took on the identity of a man to do research in a field forbidden to females, and made the most significant breakthrough of the nineteenth century. The dashing Evariste  Read more...
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Named Person: Andrew Wiles; Andrew Wiles
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Simon Singh
ISBN: 0802713319 9780802713315
OCLC Number: 36969738
Description: xviii, 315 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Contents: "I think I'll stop here" --
The riddler --
A mathematical disgrace --
Into abstraction --
Proof by contradiction --
The secret calculation --
A slight problem --
Epilogue: Grand unified mathematics.
Responsibility: Simon Singh ; foreword by John Lynch.
More information:

Abstract:

Fermat's Last Theorem became the Holy Grail of mathematics. Whole and colorful lives were devoted, and even sacrificed, to finding a proof. Leonhard Euler, the greatest mathematician of the eighteenth century, had to admit defeat. Sophie Germain took on the identity of a man to do research in a field forbidden to females, and made the most significant breakthrough of the nineteenth century. The dashing Evariste Galois scribbled down the results of his research deep into the night before venturing out to die in a duel in 1832. Yutaka Taniyama, whose insights would ultimately lead to the solution, tragically killed himself in 1958. On the other hand, Paul Wolfskehl, a famous German industrialist, claimed Fermat had saved him from suicide, and established a rich prize for the first person to prove the theorem. And then came Princeton professor Andrew Wiles, who had dreamed of proving Fermat's Last Theorem ever since he first read of it as a boy of ten in his local library. In 1993, some 356 years after Fermat's challenge, and after seven years of working in isolation and secrecy - "a kind of private and very personal battle I was engaged in"--Wiles stunned the world by announcing a proof, though his own journey would be far from over. Fermat's Enigma is the story of the epic quest to solve the greatest math problem of all time. A human drama of high dreams, intellectual brilliance, and extraordinary determination, it will bring the history and culture of mathematics into exciting focus for all who read it.

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