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September 05, 2005

Fermat's Enigma   (book)

Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem
Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem

Yay math. This is a book about mathematics and one of the hardest mathematical problems to date, Fermat's Last Theorem, and the people who have contributed to its solution. While you don't have to know much math to understand what's going on in this book, it certainly helps. The author explains some of the less complicated concepts inline, and leaves the more involved stuff to appendixes. I enjoyed this book because I am a geek. I also enjoyed it because one of my favorite classes in college was CMSC 150: Discrete Math With Applications. The people described in this book are also interesting, from Pythagoras to Andrew Wiles, the 20th-century mathematical hermit who finally was able to prove the theorem.

As a footnote, one of the more interesting (to me) tidbits in the book was that Aristotle argued against the concept of zero, "the number zero should be outlawed because it disrupted the consistency of the other numbers—dividing any ordinary number by zero led to an incomprehensible result" (infinity). (quote is from the book, not directly from Aristotle)

Posted by yargevad at September 5, 2005 05:28 PM

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