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Simon Singh

Fermat’s Last Theorem

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‘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.
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458 printed pages
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  • Anne-Mette Hauge Almindeshared an impression7 years ago
    👍Worth reading


  • Valentyna Brusenkohas quoted8 years ago
    I know it’s a rare privilege, but if you can tackle something in adult life that means that much to you, then it’s more rewarding than anything imaginable.
  • Valentyna Brusenkohas quoted8 years ago
    Basically it’s just a matter of thinking. Often you write something down to clarify your thoughts, but not necessarily. In particular when you’ve reached a real impasse, when there’s a real problem that you want to overcome, then the routine kind of mathematical thinking is of no use to you. Leading up to that kind of new idea there has to be a long period of tremendous focus on the problem without any distraction. You have to really think about nothing but that problem – just concentrate on it. Then you stop. Afterwards there seems to be a kind of period of relaxation during which the subconscious appears to take over and it’s during that time that some new insight comes.’
  • Valentyna Brusenkohas quoted8 years ago
    An expert problem solver must be endowed with two incompatible qualities – a restless imagination and a patient pertinacity.

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