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Fermat's Last Theorem: The Story Of A Riddle That Confounded The World's Greatest Minds For 358 Years Paperback – 6 May 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 274 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd; New Ed edition (6 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781841157917
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841157917
  • ASIN: 1841157910
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 274 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

‘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

Synopsis

The story of the solving of a puzzle that has confounded mathematicians since the 17th century. The solution of Fermat's Last Theorem is the most important mathematical development of the 20th century. 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.

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