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# Fermat's Last Theorem: Unlocking the Secret of an Ancient Mathematical Problem

Simple, elegant, and utterly impossible to prove, Fermat's last theorem captured the imaginations of mathematicians for more than three centuries. For some, it became a wonderful passion. For others it was an obsession that led to deceit, intrigue, or insanity. In a volume filled with the clues, red herrings, and suspense of a mystery novel, Amir D. Aczel reveals the previ
...more

Paperback, 160 pages

Published
October 12th 2007
by Basic Books
(first published 1996)

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## Community Reviews

(showing
1-30
of
1,490)

Jun 10, 2010
Linda I
rated it
4 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
science,
non-fiction

Interesting read. While Fermat's Last Theorem was a mathematical conundrum for hundreds of years, the author presents the quest to proof the theorem in a concise and engaging manner. I particularly enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at each mathematicians personality and motivations.

This book is a popular history of Fermat's Last Theorem, from its original conjecture by Fermat to its solution by Andrew Wiles. As a history, it works quite well, with occasional infelicities (mainly to do with forced, false sounding connections between unrelated parts of the narrative, such as linking mathematicians because they were both interested in some fairly large division of mathematics). From a mathematical point of view, I felt it wa ...more

Jun 29, 2008
Robert
rated it
2 of 5 stars

Recommends it for:
those interested in the history but not much detail

A typical general reader math book on the low math content side. Admittedly this particular topic (a proof that runs about 200 pages of terse writing and mathematical symbols) is hard to describe briefly, and this is a very brief book, or with much detail accessible to people who have not acquired the equivalent of a decent graduate level understanding of mathematics. About half of the book is a light survey of very familiar (to the point in some cases of being boiler plate for books likes this)
...more

Jan 26, 2014
dejah_thoris
rated it
3 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
history,
non-fiction

A tiny little book that covers all the developments leading up to the solving of Fermat's Last Theorem. (The public presentation of the solution is pretty cool too.) Not too heavy on the mathematical concepts until the twentieth century, allowing you to focus more on the history, though Aczel does a good job explaining complicated theories and manipulations. (Don't get stuck if you can't follow the occasional paragraphs on new theories and manipulations after non-Euclidian geometry is introduced
...more

Ever since Fermat mentioned that he'd solved the problem, mathematicians all over the world attempted to find a solution, knowing that it must be solvable. It wasn't until 1995 that an American mathematician, with the help of some incredibly advanced number theory w ...more

L'histoire de tous les concepts mathematiques qui sont lies a la demons ...more

He does a better-than-average job of making the narrative thread interesting (a better job than Prime Obsession did with the Riemann Hypothesis, for instance) but in 136 pages one shouldn't expect to come away from a book with a greater mathematical understanding of the soluti ...more

You don't need to be fluent in mathematics to enjoy this book. But, you must have a basic understanding of algebra and, more importantly, you must have a ...more

Jan 04, 2014
Joseph Wetterling
rated it
3 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
mathematics

While the pace of the story was odd -- both Fermat and Wiles get less of the book than you might expect -- the tale of the solution is enjoyable. There is a lesson for non-mathematicians here in not underestimating your contributions. The solution was the work of many hands, most of which were never even directly working on it.

The math is occasionally described by analogy or diagram, but too often a non-mathematician will simply have to nod and smile and take the author's word for it.

The math is occasionally described by analogy or diagram, but too often a non-mathematician will simply have to nod and smile and take the author's word for it.

A really nice history, and a quick read, too. Some of the math went over my head, but it was explained in such a way that I was at least able to understand the gist of the math, and why it was important to the proving of the Theorem.

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