Fermat's Last Theorem: The Story of a Riddle That Confounded the World's Greatest Minds for 358 Years

Fermat's Last Theorem: The Story of a Riddle That Confounded the World's Greatest Minds for 358 Years

Paperback Fourth Estate

By (author) Simon Singh

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  • Publisher: FOURTH ESTATE LTD
  • Format: Paperback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 192mm x 26mm | 259g
  • Publication date: 5 June 2002
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1841157910
  • ISBN 13: 9781841157917
  • Illustrations note: (B/w integrated)
  • Sales rank: 7,743

Product description

'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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Author information

Simon Singh received his PhD from the University of Cambridge. A former BBC producer, he directed the BAFTA Award-winning documentary film 'Fermat's Last Theorem', about Andrew Wiles and the world's most famous maths problem, and he wrote the book of the same title. He is also the author of 'The Code Book' and 'Big Bang'.

Review quote

'If you enjoyed Dava Sobel's "Longitude" you will enjoy this.' Evening Standard 'This is probably the best popular account of a scientific topic I have ever read.' Irish Times 'Reads like the chronicle of an obsessive love affair. It has the classic ingredients that Hollywood would recognise.' Daily Mail 'To read it is to realise that there is a world of beauty and intellectual challenge that is denied to 99.9 per cent of us who are not high-level mathematicians.' The Times 'This tale has all the elements of a most exciting story: an impenetrable riddle; the ambition and frustration of generations of hopefuls; and the genius who worked for years in secrecy to realise his childhood dream.' Express

Editorial reviews

This tells a fascinating tale spanning more than 350 years of investigation into the greatest riddle in mathematics. Whether Fermat himself ever did have a proof of his famous last theorem we will never know; but the saga of the many attempts to find a proof, and the ultimate success of Andrew Wiles in the 1990s, makes absorbing reading. In 1993, Wiles, a Cambridge mathematician, electrified the world of mathematics - and appeared in the news worldwide - when he announced he had solved the eponymous theorem. To do this he had worked alone for seven years; when his proof was found to have a flaw, he had to devote another year to it. Singh's book is respectful of the maths, but also offers a colourful history of the theorem and the personalities of the mathematicians involved in it. (Kirkus UK)