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When Andrew Wiles of Princeton University announced a solution of Fermat's last theorem in 1993, it electrified the world of mathematics. After a flaw was discovered in the proof, Wiles had to work for another year--he had already labored in solitude for seven years--to establish that he had solved the 350-year-old problem. Simon Singh's book is a lively, comprehensible explanation of Wiles's work and of the star-, trauma-, and wacko-studded history of Fermat's last theorem. Fermat's Enigma contains some problems that offer a taste of the math, but it also includes limericks to give a feeling for the goofy side of mathematicians. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
YAAThe riveting story of a mathematical problem that sprang from the study of the Pythagorean theorem developed in ancient Greece. The book follows mathematicians and scientists throughout history as they searched for new mathematical truths. In the 17th century, a French judicial assistant and amateur mathematician, Pierre De Fermat, produced many brilliant ideas in the field of number theory. The Greeks were aware of many whole number solutions to the Pythagorean theorem, where the sum of two perfect squares is a perfect square. Fermat stated that no whole number solutions exist if higher powers replace the squares in this equation. He left a message in the margin of a notebook that he had a proof, but that there was insufficient space there to write it down. His note was found posthumously, but the solution remained a mystery for 350 years. Finally, after working in isolation for eight years, Andrew Wiles, a young British mathematician at Princeton University, published a proof in 1995. Although this famous question has been resolved, many more remain unsolved, and new problems continually arise to challenge modern minds. This vivid account is fascinating reading for anyone interested in mathematics, its history, and the passionate quest for solutions to unsolved riddles. The book includes 19 black-and-white photos of mathematicians and occasional sketches of ancient mathematicians as well as diagrams of formulas. The illustrations help to humanize the subject and add to the readability.APenny Stevens, Centreville Regional Library, Centreville, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Way fun! I love math and reading about math history and puzzles, and this book had everything, including being very readable.Published 4 months ago by Anita Flegg
A great book on an important, if obscure, moment in the history of mathematics. The greatest talent Simon Singh has is to present complex concepts and an easy way to understand.Published 9 months ago by Spaceweasels
This is the best book I had read about mathematics in last few years. It's beautiful.Published on Jan. 10 2006 by Hong Gao
Simon Singh never fails. This is a great book like all of his others. You really can't go wrong.Published on May 2 2004 by Bosco
Singh writes with great skill of suspense, with minimal of math equations to help readers navigate the path to solving the ultimate math riddle of all time by a lone... Read morePublished on June 20 2003 by -
Never thought I would use the words "Romance" "Suspense" "Thriller" and the History of Mathematics in the same sentence. Great book and worth reading. Read morePublished on Dec 19 2002 by A. Vasudevan
I read Singh's FERMAT'S ENIGMA after reading Singh's CODE BOOK. Unfortunately, the latter is by far the better book. Read morePublished on May 28 2002 by Random Joys
I know what you are thinking... a book about mathematics and its practitioners is probably as exciting as watching paint dry. But you would be wrong in this assumption. Read morePublished on May 25 2002 by Amazon Customer