Kururu's Reviews > Fermat's Last Theorem

Fermat's Last Theorem by Simon Singh
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's review
Jun 20, 09

bookshelves: non-fiction, math, history
Read in May, 2009

This book is meant for the latter half of the bell curve. If you're mathematical experience stopped at high school, this book will still disappoint you. I don't understand how you can write about math without writing some math. The equations given weren't pertinent to Fermat's Last Theorem, most were digressions that were meant to prove an already obvious point, an explanation of the Pythagorean theorem?, thank you but my elementary school teacher did plenty enough. The book skimps over the hard mathematics and tries, incorrectly, to relate it to prior explanations such as for Galois groups.

I did enjoy the thorough treatise on the history of the equation instead of simply a biography of Andrew Wiles, which the latter of the half of the book unfortunately was. Singh explores the various attempts at solving the equation providing some backstory to each mathematician, which was nice since we think of a mathematician only by their last name proceeding some formula instead of their lives.

The book did provide a general overview of the philosophy behind math and tried to capture of what it means to be a mathematician, what I was hoping to find out. However if you're looking for something more serious than the Colbert Report, I'd suggest you look elsewhere otherwise you're looking at a joke.

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