‘If you enjoyed Dava Sobel’s “Longitude” you will enjoy this.’ Evening Standard
‘This is probably the best popular account of a scientific topic I have ever read.’ Irish Times
‘Reads like the chronicle of an obsessive love affair. It has the classic ingredients that Hollywood would recognise.’ Daily Mail
‘To read it is to realise that there is a world of beauty and intellectual challenge that is denied to 99.9 per cent of us who are not high-level mathematicians.’ The Times
‘This tale has all the elements of a most exciting story: an impenetrable riddle; the ambition and frustration of generations of hopefuls; and the genius who worked for years in secrecy to realise his childhood dream.’ Express
From the Author
For the last seven years I have worked as a science journalist for BBC television in London, and, without doubt, the story of Fermat's Last Theorem is the most compelling scientific tale I have encountered. As soon as Andrew Wiles solved the problem of the Last Theorem, I began working on a TV documentary describing his achievement (which was aired in the UK on BBC's Horizon series and in the USA as part of the NOVA series), but it was obvious that there was much more to the story than could be squeezed into 60 minutes of television. The book is intended to do justice to the extraordinary history of the problem, involving tragedy, obsession, rich prizes, suicide and even transvestism. At the same time, it was an opportunity to desribe the beautiful mathematical ideas behind Wiles' proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. Mathematics is not about balancing checkbooks, it's about exploring an abstract universe of numbers, filled with profound and subtle concepts. Since the moment I heard about Fermat's Last Theorem I was fascintated by it, and I hope that you will be equally enthralled. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
In 1963 a schoolboy browsing in his local library stumbled across the world's greatest mathematical problem: Fermat's Last Theorem, a puzzle that every child can understand but which has baffled mathematicians for over 300 years. Aged just ten, Andrew Wiles dreamed that he would crack it. Wiles's lifelong obsession with a seemingly simple challenge set by a long-dead Frenchman is an emotional tale of sacrifice and extraordinary determination. In the end, Wiles was forced to work in secrecy and isolation for seven years, harnessing all the power of modern maths to achieve his childhood dream. Many before him had tried and failed, including a 18-century philanderer who was killed in a duel. An 18-century Frenchwoman made a major breakthrough in solving the riddle, but she had to attend maths lectures at the Ecole Polytechnique disguised as a man since women were forbidden entry to the school. A remarkable story of human endeavour and intellectual brilliance over three centuries, Fermat's Last Theorem will fascinate both specialist and general readers.
About the Author
Simon Singh received his PhD from the University of Cambridge. A former BBC producer, he directed the BAFTA Award-winning documentary film ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’, about Andrew Wiles and the world’s most famous maths problem, and he wrote the book of the same title. He is also the author of ‘The Code Book’ and ‘Big Bang’.