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Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem (Paperback)
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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.
About the Author
Simon Singh received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Cambridge. A BBC producer, he directed and coproduced an award-winning documentary film on Fermat's Last Theorem that aired on PBS's "Nova" series. He is also the author of the bestselling The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography. He lives in London, England.
"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."
"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."