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Fermat’s Last Theorem – Simon Singh

Posted on: 14 Februari 2013

Fermat's Last TheoremMath was one of my favorite subjects in school. I loved learning algebra and I enjoyed calculus in high school and college. I also take pleasure in doing logic puzzles now and then. But I can’t imagine myself doing it for a living, filling my brain with numbers day in and day out.

So it’s fascinating for me to read about people throughout history who did do this, who devoted their lives in search of mathematical truths. The author explains clearly why figuring out absolute mathematical proof is important and how it is different from scientific evidence or experiment.

Having understood that, I gained more appreciation for the quest to find proof for Fermat’s Last Theorem that lasted for more than 350 years. So I followed the narration with much interest and anticipation, from the origin of the theorem, through the various failed efforts to solve it, to Andrew Wiles’s seven-year undertaking to finally put the matter to rest. Along the way I also learned a little bit of history of mathematics, as well as some of its prominent figures.

I think the author has successfully written the mathematical parts of the narration in terms that a layperson like me can grasp. All the illustrations and appendices are a delight to read. So, although I don’t know the actual details of the calculations involved, I was able to get the gist of what the mathematicians were trying to do and therefore enjoy the story. A great read.

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