Loading... ## Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical… (original 1997; edition 1998)## by Simon Singh, 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. 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. I love this book - it reads like a mystery full of obsessive people trying to solve a problem. I liked the math, and while the author, while not a mathematician, manages to simplify it to the point where a non-math person might understand the underlying logic. The story is full of odd characters, many of them obsessive. Most of them not likeable (which adds to the story). The story of Andrew Wiles, the man who finally cracked Fermat's Last Theorem, is quite good, and is the reason this book was written, but is really only a small part of this tale. It is written as part of the overall history, not just a major part of it. While the book is about the path to Fermat's Last Theorem, but because so many new ideas came about from the path of solving it, this book can be seen as a brief history of math. Highly recommended if you like pop-science type books and mathmatics, but without all the hard stuff. Bisogna riconoscere 'pathos' alla narrazione, anche se tratta di una materia che ricorda piu' gli esami di riparazione che non gare, intrighi, lotte, seminari, delusioni e premi. In realtà è l'avventura di una scoperta a cui Indiana Jones non ci aveva abituato, ed è la scoperta intellettuale. Non è la pietra filosofale, ma un materiale ancora più prezioso: la storia di uomini che per secoli cercano la verita', trasformando i limiti in confini, superandoli, trascinando tutta l'umanita' con loro, un passo più in la'. Affascinante. Fermat's Last Theorem begins with Pythagoras, goes through Fermat's positing of his theorem, the attempts by Euler and others to solve it, and culminates with Andrew Wiles's solution. It is generally entertaining and has the occasional equation, with a few more in the Appendix. But most of the relatively light analytical machinery in the book is devoted to ancillary problems or general illustrations, Singh does not even go beyond an extremely superficial description of the main feature of Fermat's proof in the case of n=4. Instead a lot of the space is filled with detours that are often found in these sorts of books, from the role of women in French mathematics in the 19th Century to the puzzle fad in the early 20th Century. In that way this book fell short of Singh's Big Bang which felt more focused and a little more thorough in trying to describe how scientists discovered what they did about the big bang. no reviews | add a review
References to this work on external resources. ## Wikipedia in English (13)
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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