Fermat's Enigma: Epic Quest To Solve The Worlds Greatest Mathematical Problem

Paperback | October 1, 1998

bySimon SinghForeword byJohn Lynch

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"I have discovered a truly marvelous proof, which this margin is too narrow to contain."

With these tantalizing word, 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, yet the finest mathematical minds would be baffled for more than three and half centuries. Fermat's Last Theorem became the Holy Grail of mathematics. Whole and colourful lives were devoted to, and even sacrificed, to finding a solution.

Then, came Princeton Professor Andrew Wiles, who had dreamed of proving Fermat ever since he first read of it as a boy of ten in his local library. In 1993, some 356 years after Fermat's challenge, and after seven years of working in isolation and secrecy, Wiles stunned the world by announcing a proof-though his own journey would be far from over. Fermat's Enigma is the story of the epic quest to solve the greatest math problem of all time. It is a human drama of high dreams, intellectual brilliance, and extraordinary determination.

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From Our Editors

The world of mathematics has all but recovered from the quandary that baffled its master mathematicians for over three-and-a-half centuries. Fortunately for the rest of us, there is Simon Singh’s chronicle of the most puzzling math problem in history--from its discovery by 17th-century Frenchman Pierre de Fermat to the Princeton Profes...

From the Publisher

"I have discovered a truly marvelous proof, which this margin is too narrow to contain." With these tantalizing word, 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, yet the finest mathematical minds would be baffl...

Simon Singh was born in Great Britain in 1964 and educated at Imperial College and the University of Cambridge (where he received a Ph. D. in particle physics). He worked at the European Centre for Particle Physics and the BBC's science department. At the BBC, he worked on Tomorrow's World. Singh and John Lynch produced and directed an...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 5 × 4.9 × 0.91 inPublished:October 1, 1998Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140268693

ISBN - 13:9780140268690

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Customer Reviews of Fermat's Enigma: Epic Quest To Solve The Worlds Greatest Mathematical Problem

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Gripping Mathematical Page-Turner 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.
Date published: 2013-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent I totally enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down until I finished it. Mr. Singh makes the complex mathematics understandable and even interesting. This book is like a mathematical whodunit.
Date published: 2008-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book! Simon Singh has a real knack for making math and physics interesting. This book in particular was hard to put down. It details the history of a math problem deemed a lost cause by many mathematicians yet one man made it his life's ambition to crack it. No knowledge beyond high school math is required.
Date published: 2005-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read for everyone This book beautifully weaves the advances in mathematics with the stories of times and generations. It touches upon aspects and personalities of mathematics directly or indirectly related to Fermat's Last Theorm and brings them in and takes them out of the plot as the quest for solving Fermat's last theorem develops over centuries. There are doses of fear, arrogance, love, respect, and paranoia all included through the various characters introduced. An absolute page turner. A must read for those who infinitely love mathematics, and for those who immeasurably fear the subject.
Date published: 2001-03-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fermat's Enigma Excellent treatise on the historical milestones that led to the birth and prove of Fermat's famous last theorem. This otherwise dry subject has been made very enjoyable and capitvating by Simon Singh's writing style.
Date published: 2000-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Fascinating, informative, accessible and well written.
Date published: 2000-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Read The book provides an excellent review of the "Greatest Hits of Mathematics" leading to the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem.
Date published: 1999-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Book This book is a fascinating history lesson on the long sought after solution to Fermats Last Theorem.
Date published: 1999-05-27

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From Our Editors

The world of mathematics has all but recovered from the quandary that baffled its master mathematicians for over three-and-a-half centuries. Fortunately for the rest of us, there is Simon Singh’s chronicle of the most puzzling math problem in history--from its discovery by 17th-century Frenchman Pierre de Fermat to the Princeton Professor who finally solved it--in a highly entertaining depiction of intellectual brilliance, aspiration, and determination.