If you have a bit of a mathematical background, reading this book is like taking a good undergraduate class (but without homework!). It presents a widIf you have a bit of a mathematical background, reading this book is like taking a good undergraduate class (but without homework!). It presents a wide range mathematics, all of which is very cool. Really, from the stack of overhanging cards that represents the harmonic series and as such can overhang out over any distance (if you have enough cards), I was delighted.

For someone with a background in math (though by no means one deep enough to understand the proof that the book is about), the historical proofs involFor someone with a background in math (though by no means one deep enough to understand the proof that the book is about), the historical proofs involve too much hand waving, even the ones in the appendices. Also, the proof of the Pythagorean theorem is an algebraic proof, and not the proof by construction that the ancient Greeks used. While that is an easy proof to follow, presenting it in the context of the ancient Greeks is weird.

However, by the time we get to the elliptic equations and modular forms hand waving is OK with me. I liked that Singh presented the mathematics behind the proof so that I could at least get a vague idea of what it is about, and how the real significant math behind the proof is the proof of the Taniyam-Shimura conjecture. Also cool was seeing the psychological processes that Wiles went through in proving Fermat's last theorem. ...more

This year I have read a lot of math books, and I think this one is my favorite. It gives a very moving historical picture, as well as presenting someThis year I have read a lot of math books, and I think this one is my favorite. It gives a very moving historical picture, as well as presenting some very cool proofs. My favorite set of proofs, even from before I read this book, as been Cantor's proofs of the innumerability of the continuum. I often show this proof to friends, and was happy that Dunham includes a number of details to this proof that I forgot. Also, I love the section on Archemedes. ...more