Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem

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9780385493628: Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem

xn + yn = zn, where n represents 3, 4, 5, ...no solution

"I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain."

With these words, the seventeenth-century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat threw down the gauntlet to future generations.  What came to be known as Fermat's Last Theorem looked simple; proving it, however, became the Holy Grail of mathematics, baffling its finest minds for more than 350 years.  In Fermat's Enigma--based on the author's award-winning documentary film, which aired on PBS's "Nova"--Simon Singh tells the astonishingly entertaining story of the pursuit of that grail, and the lives that were devoted to, sacrificed for, and saved by it.  Here is a mesmerizing tale of heartbreak and mastery that will forever change your feelings about mathematics.

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Review:

When Andrew Wiles of Princeton University announced a solution of Fermat's last theorem in 1993, it electrified the world of mathematics. After a flaw was discovered in the proof, Wiles had to work for another year--he had already labored in solitude for seven years--to establish that he had solved the 350-year-old problem. Simon Singh's book is a lively, comprehensible explanation of Wiles's work and of the star-, trauma-, and wacko-studded history of Fermat's last theorem. Fermat's Enigma contains some problems that offer a taste of the math, but it also includes limericks to give a feeling for the goofy side of mathematicians.

From the Publisher:

"An excellent account of one of the most dramatic and moving events of the century."
--Sir Roger Penrose, New York Times Book Review

"It is hard to imagine a more gripping account of...this centuries-long drama of ingenious failures, crushed hopes, fatal duels, and suicides."
--Jim Holt, The Wall Street Journal

"Though Singh may not ask us to bring too much algebra to the table, he does expect us to appreciate a good detective story."
--Boston Sunday Globe

"The history of mathematics comes alive even for those who dread balancing their checkbooks."
--Publishers Weekly

"Singh captures the joys and frustrations of this quest for an extremely elusive proof...and builds to a truly engrossing climax. It's a mathematical page-turner."
--Library Journal

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Book Description Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Anchor Books. Language: English . Brand New Book. xn + yn = zn, where n represents 3, 4, 5, .no solution I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain. With these words, the seventeenth-century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat threw down the gauntlet to future generations. What came to be known as Fermat s Last Theorem looked simple; proving it, however, became the Holy Grail of mathematics, baffling its finest minds for more than 350 years. In Fermat s Enigma--based on the author s award-winning documentary film, which aired on PBS s Nova --Simon Singh tells the astonishingly entertaining story of the pursuit of that grail, and the lives that were devoted to, sacrificed for, and saved by it. Here is a mesmerizing tale of heartbreak and mastery that will forever change your feelings about mathematics. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780385493628

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Book Description Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Anchor Books. Language: English . Brand New Book. xn + yn = zn, where n represents 3, 4, 5, .no solution I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain. With these words, the seventeenth-century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat threw down the gauntlet to future generations. What came to be known as Fermat s Last Theorem looked simple; proving it, however, became the Holy Grail of mathematics, baffling its finest minds for more than 350 years. In Fermat s Enigma--based on the author s award-winning documentary film, which aired on PBS s Nova --Simon Singh tells the astonishingly entertaining story of the pursuit of that grail, and the lives that were devoted to, sacrificed for, and saved by it. Here is a mesmerizing tale of heartbreak and mastery that will forever change your feelings about mathematics. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780385493628

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Book Description Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Anchor Books. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. xn + yn = zn, where n represents 3, 4, 5, .no solution I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain. With these words, the seventeenth-century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat threw down the gauntlet to future generations. What came to be known as Fermat s Last Theorem looked simple; proving it, however, became the Holy Grail of mathematics, baffling its finest minds for more than 350 years. In Fermat s Enigma--based on the author s award-winning documentary film, which aired on PBS s Nova --Simon Singh tells the astonishingly entertaining story of the pursuit of that grail, and the lives that were devoted to, sacrificed for, and saved by it. Here is a mesmerizing tale of heartbreak and mastery that will forever change your feelings about mathematics. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780385493628

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