Loading... ## Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical… (original 1997; edition 1998)## by Simon Singh (Author), John Lynch (Foreword), Andy Bridge (Cover artist), Ashwini M. Jambotkar (Cover designer)
## Work detailsFermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem by Simon Singh (1997)
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Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book. No current Talk conversations about this book. from the foreword: "it turned out that everyone had been working on Fermat, but separately and without having it as a goal." While reading this book, I started thinking about the extraordinary coincidence of so many great mathematicians whose surname began with "W" and also contained an "L" and was just one syllable. Namely, Andre Weil, Hermann Weyl and Andrew Wiles. Also Wolf and the Wolf prize, not to be confused with the Wolfskehl prize. The latter prize was set up to reward anyone who could come up with a verified proof of Fermat's Last Theorem within one hundred years from the time it was set up, so the deadline was in 2009. The Langlands program called for uniting various math specialties that had, over time, drifted apart. This book tells about how all the different threads from various areas of mathematics had to be pulled together so that Andrew Wiles could meet that deadline. It wasn't the full Langlands program, but a very remarkable example of how fruitful these relinkings can be. The first part of the book overlapped with other books I have read that discuss history of mathematics. Around the midpoint, I started learning more. I learned something about the Taniyama-Shimuro conjecture. Other books had referred to it, but hadn't given quite enough detail to leave it anything but obscure mystery in my mind. I've had this book on my personal to-read list for a long time. I'm glad I found this book in the public library. It was every bit as good as I had expected when I first put it on my list. There is much more details of mathematical proofs than in other works of popular mathematics I've read. Still I feel some more could've been added without making it unreadable for the beginner. Written for a general audience without much mathematics background, and therefore very easy to follow. Those wanting something more in-depth and challenging may want to pass. I am blown away by this book. I've read so many nonfiction math and physics books that they were starting to repeat themselves. So, when I picked this one up I thought, "Well, it's probably more of the same, but it's popular enough I should really add it to my repertoire." Way wrong thought. Not only does this book contain even more charming mathematical anecdotes than I'd ever read before, but it also contains better written versions of the stories I'd heard of. For example, I knew about Sophie Germain, but I didn't know she'd saved Gauss' life. I knew all about the burning of Alexandria, but I didn't know it was Mark Antony who attempted to rebuild the great library. I knew Galois died young in a duel, but I never knew the full story.I read [b:The Code Book|17994|The Code Book The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography|Simon Singh|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1403181687s/17994.jpg|1031975] in high school, and I remember it being good, but in a recreational way. It piqued my interest but I didn't really shelf it with "high literature" like I did with [b:Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid|24113|Gödel, Escher, Bach An Eternal Golden Braid|Douglas R. Hofstadter|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1428732588s/24113.jpg|850076] or [b:Music of the Spheres: The Material Universe From Atom to Quaser, Simply Explained|393653|Music of the Spheres The Material Universe From Atom to Quaser, Simply Explained (Volume II The Microcosm Matter, Atoms, Waves, Radiation, Relativity)|Guy Murchie|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1387716643s/393653.jpg|383216]. It was enough for me, a young geeky teenager, to have a little fun playing with codes, then move on to another book. I am very happy that I returned to Singh, and I can confidently say this is the better of the two I've read. Mathematicians sure are a romantic lot. no reviews | add a review
References to this work on external resources. ## Wikipedia in English (10)
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. |
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