• List Price: CDN$ 23.00
  • You Save: CDN$ 7.71 (34%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
Only 9 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
Fermat's Enigma has been added to your Cart
+ CDN$ 6.49 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Sold by The Book Man
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Softcover. Sound & good copy, light to moderate rubbing/edgewear to wraps.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Fermat's Enigma Paperback – Oct 6 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 184 customer reviews

See all 13 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
CDN$ 15.29
CDN$ 8.72 CDN$ 0.01

Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping for Six Months When You Try Amazon Student

Frequently Bought Together

  • Fermat's Enigma
  • +
  • The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
  • +
  • Journey through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics
Total price: CDN$ 45.62
Buy the selected items together

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Canada; 1st Edition edition (Oct. 6 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140268693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140268690
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 2.3 x 12.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 184 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

From Amazon

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.

From School Library Journal

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.

See all Product Description

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Pierre de Fermat, a seventeenth century French mathematician, challenged his colleagues and perhaps future generations of mathematicians to prove the following formula: a^n + b^n = c^n will be false for n > 2. Fermat wrote in the margins of his notebook that he had proven the assertion, but he did not outline it.
Singh's book chronicles the development of mathematics from ancient Greece to the 1990s.
Singh begins with a discussion of Pythagoras and his famous theorem for calculating right triangles. It is the Pythagorean formula that is the basis for Fermat's equation.
Singh then discusses the many famous mathematicians that had attempted to reproduce Fermat's proof. Although they were able to prove the formula's validity for specific values of n, no one had succeeded in proving it for infinite values of n. Without this proof of universality, there had existed the possibility that some value will disprove Fermat's assertion.
Singh then focuses his attention on Andrew Wiles, the man who would succeed where others had failed. After studying the futile attempts of his predecessors, Wiles decides to employ twentieth century mathematics. With developments from other colleagues in other areas of mathematics, Wiles embarks on a personal and secretive mission to resolve this enduring problem and a contemporary mathematical challenge.
Fermat's Enigma is a nontechnical exploration of the mathematics and mathematicians from ancient Greece to the twentieth century. It requires knowledge of only high school mathematics.
1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Singh and Lynch have successfully presented one of the most abstract subjects in a simple to understand language. For those who put down a Maths book by looking at the complex equations: Fear Not, this one does not go too deep into equations and relies more on plain English to convey the point. I think that Appendixes could have been a bit more descriptive. Overall it was a fun read. I highly recommend this one for Mathematics appetite of Not-So-Mathematical.
1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I could not put this book down! In clear, lively, captivating prose the author recounts the story of Fermat's Last Theorem and its elusive mathematical proof. The period covered is essentially from the days of Fermat until the theorem's proof by Andrew Wiles in the mid 1990s. Along the way, the reader is treated to the various valiant efforts by brilliant mathematicians through the centuries towards establishing such a solid proof - all in vain before Dr. Wiles. The ups and downs in the history of this seemingly intangible proof are particularly well illustrated.

Throughout the book, the reader is exposed to various mathematical objects that mostly form part of number theory, as well as mathematical techniques that have been developed over time. Because the mathematics is so masterfully described, this book should be accessible to a wide audience.

This amazing book should appeal especially to mathematics/science enthusiasts but any interested general reader could follow it quite easily and enjoy it tremendously.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This is a remarkable and engrossing human story about the search for the proof to the age old Fermat's last theorem. A story which tells the tale of one man's unflinching determination and single minded devotion to the cause of this proof. The events which unfold and the riveting account of Andrew Wiles journey to glory are told in this gripping tale by Simon Singh. Singh's master storytelling abilities are very well exemplified and will be appreciated by one and all. Those not inclined mathematically will also gain insights and concepts of mathematics and also get a peek at the lives of the mathematicians who are featured in this book.
Andrew Wiles read about this theorem when he was barely ten year old in a library while flipping through one of E.T. Bell's book. The rest as we know is history because this particular moment became a turning point in young Wiles life. This would force him to take a career in mathematics and lead a rigorous life in mathematics. Later he would be shutting and isolating himself from the outside world so that he could devote his complete attention to the task at hand - to solve this 17th century conjecture devised by the great Pierre Fermat. History saw this theorem remaining unsolved for 350 years, which eluded mathematicians like Euler, Sophie Germain, Lame, Kummer, Cauchy et al. but who nevertheless had their own bit of contribution to the proof in particular and mathematics in general.
Andrew Wiles mathematical proof of the century was not without its share of pitfalls. After announcing the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem in June 1993 with much fanfare and publicity, Wiles didn't have the wildest idea about what was in store for him... something which will almost make him accept defeat...
Though Prof.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: School & Library Binding
"Mathematical theorems rely on a logical process and once proven are true until the end of time," says Simon Singh, on page 21 of this impressive exposition of scientific method and the history of mathematics.
The author points out, under the rubric "Absolute Proof," that there is a difference between the "hard science" of mathematics and the guesswork, maybe, and make-believe of the "pseudo-sciences" (sociology, anthropology, linguistics, psychology and others). Singh goes on to say that the proofs acceptable in these pseudo-sciences "rely on observation and perception, both of which are fallible and provide only approximations to the truth."
Simon Singh has a Ph.D. in particle physics from Cambridge University. He worked for the BBC where he co-produced and directed their documentary film Fermat's Last Theorem, which is at the heart of the PBS/BBC/NOVA production The Proof, outlining Princeton professor Andrew Wiles' solution to Fermat's 400 year old problem. (I tried to purchase Fermat's Last Theorem directly from the BBC, when I could not get it from Amazon.com, but BBC prices are too steep for a poor "Yank")
Fermat's Enigma is the story of Frenchman, Pierre de Fermat, who happens to be one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. It is the story of the world's 400-year-long effort to solve a problem he discussed, later to become the "Holy Grail of Mathematics." The dust jacket says it is a "human drama of high dreams, intellectual brilliance, and extraordinary determination, it will bring the history and culture of mathematics into exciting focus for all who read it.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most recent customer reviews

Look for similar items by category