Fermat's last theorem

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2+2=4
Pierre de Fermat
I have a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain.
—Pierre de Fermat
I have an elegant refutation of your attempted proof, but unfortunately this page is not large enough to contain it.
—Anon

Fermat's last theorem[1] states that in the equation, A^n+B^n=C^n , if A,B,C are positive, non-zero integers,[2] n cannot be an integer greater than 2. Fermat wrote in the margin of a book that he had a proof of the theorem, but it would not fit in the margin. He died in 1665 before ever revealing it, and his note was discovered posthumously by his son.[3][4]

In 1994, Andrew Wiles presented a proof of the theorem, using 20th century mathematical principles. How Fermat was able to prove his theorem without many of the modern techniques used by Wiles is unknown, although it is suspected that Fermat's proof was a version of an earlier flawed method.

[edit] References

  1. Singh, Simon (1997). Fermat's Last Theorem. Fourth Estate. ISBN 1-85702-669-1.
  2. Also known as "counting numbers", to fourth grade mathematicians.
  3. http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Fermat's_last_theorem.html
  4. http://www.simonsingh.net/Fermat_Corner.html
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