“Fermat’s Last Theorem”, By Simon Singh

In a way this book “Fermat’s Last Theorem” is a fantasy come true. To be able to read about complex Mathematics in a story book style is something that was possible only in this book by Simon Singh. Before I picked up this book I had no idea about Fermat’s last theorem or its significance. I just read the summary on the back page and felt like picking up the book and once I started reading it, there was no stopping it, though I did skipped over complex mathematical equations part.

Fermat’s last theorem states that no set of positive three integers exist such that

an + bn = cn

is satisfied for any integer value of n greater than two. This theorem was first conjectured by Pierre de Fermat in 1637 and he claimed in his writing that he had a proof of this theorem but he did not have space left on the paper on which he was writing at that time. After his death hundreds of Mathematicians across the world tried unsuccessfully for many centuries to get the generic proof but the final proof was found only in 1995. Even though the proof has been found it is based on very complex mathematical models that were not in existence during Fermat’s time. So, it is still a mystery, how Fermat had that proof that was very simple.

The book traces this history of Fermat’s last theorem. It is a fascinating story of how the best minds could not figure out something that was done by Fermat such a long time ago. The significance of this theorem is not that it brings some new understanding to the world of Mathematics but lies in the simplicity of the theorem and exceedingly complex proof of it.


Filed under Non-Fiction, Science

2 responses to ““Fermat’s Last Theorem”, By Simon Singh

  1. Satheesh

    Simon Singh is a guru in explaining complex scientific principles in ways that laymen can understand. His “Big Bang” explains the different approaches to explain the birth of the universe & how the proponents of the big bang theory won over the “steady-state” theorists. The book also traces the personal aspects of many famous & could-have-been famous scientists. An interesting episode is how AT&T Engineers probing the noise in inter-continental communication discovered the millimeter waves, that conclusively proved the big bang. A great read & a great testimony to the triumph of the “scientific method”.


    • pkg

      I should get hold of Big-Bang. Sounds like a good book. It would be so good if students are asked to read such books instead of the boring and difficult text books.


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