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 previously untold story of the people, the history, and the cultures that lie behind this scientific triumph.
From formulas devised from the farmers of ancient Babylonia to the dramatic proof of Fermat’s theorem in 1993, this extraordinary work takes us along on an exhilarating intellectual treasure hunt. Revealing the hidden mathematical order of the natural world in everything from stars to sunflowers, Fermat’s Last Theorem brilliantly combines philosophy and hard science with investigative journalism. The result: a real-life detective story of the intellect, at once intriguing, thought-provoking, and impossible to put down.
"Aczel does a superb job...A mathematical bonbon of a book."
"Aczel maps the strange, beautiful byways of modern mathematical thought in ways the layperson can grasp."
"It employs a staggering range of abstract devices, which Mr. Aczel is a dab hand at explaining: Abelian varieties, Galois representations, automorphic forms, and on and on."