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Notes on Fermat's Last Theorem

by Alf Van Der Poorten

  • ISBN: 9780471062615
  • ISBN10: 0471062618

Notes on Fermat's Last Theorem

by Alf Van Der Poorten

  • List Price: $166.50
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • Publish date: 03/01/1996
  • ISBN: 9780471062615
  • ISBN10: 0471062618
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Description: Around 1637, the French jurist Pierre de Fermat scribbled in the margin of his copy of the book Arithmetica what came to be known as Fermat's Last Theorem, the most famous question in mathematical history. Stating that it is impossible to split a cube into two cubes, or a fourth power into two fourth powers, or any higher power into two like powers, but not leaving behind the marvelous proof claimed to have had, Fermat prompted three and a half centuries of mathematical inquiry which culminated recently with the proof of the theorem by Andrew Wiles. This book offers the first serious treatment of Fermat's Last Theorem since Wiles's proof. It is based on a series of lectures given by the author to celebrate Wiles's achievement, with each chapter explaining a separate area of number theory as it pertains to Fermat's Last Theorem. Together, they provide a concise history of the theorem as well as a brief discussion of Wiles's proof and its implications. Requiring little more than one year of university mathematics and some interest in formulas, this overview provides many useful tips and cites numerous references for those who desire more mathematical detail. This book not only tells us why, in all likelihood, Fermat did not have the proof for his last theorem, it also takes us through historical attempts to crack the theorem, the prizes that were offered along the way, and the consequent motivation for the development of other areas of mathematics. Notes on Fermat's Last Theorem is invaluable for students of mathematics, and of real interest to those in the physical sciences, engineering, and computer sciences - indeed for anyone who craves a glimpse at this fascinating piece ofmathematical history.
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