The Mathematical Career of Pierre de Fermat, 1601-1665 / Edition 2

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$90.25
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $41.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 57%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $41.99   
  • New (7) from $85.22   
  • Used (4) from $41.99   

Overview

Hailed as one of the greatest mathematical results of the twentieth century, the recent proof of Fermat's Last Theorem by Andrew Wiles brought to public attention the enigmatic problem-solver Pierre de Fermat, who centuries ago stated his famous conjecture in a margin of a book, writing that he did not have enough room to show his "truly marvelous demonstration." Along with formulating this proposition--xn+yn=zn has no rational solution for n > 2--Fermat, an inventor of analytic geometry, also laid the foundations of differential and integral calculus, established, together with Pascal, the conceptual guidelines of the theory of probability, and created modern number theory. In one of the first full-length investigations of Fermat's life and work, Michael Sean Mahoney provides rare insight into the mathematical genius of a hobbyist who never sought to publish his work, yet who ranked with his contemporaries Pascal and Descartes in shaping the course of modern mathematics.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

British Journal for the History of Science
Mahoney's sensitive handling of the material, his sharp appreciation of conceptual and notational subtleties, and his willingness to detail or reconstruct proofs and procedures, now make possible an appreciation of the real power and variety of Fermat's invention.
— Alan Gabbey
Science
A remarkably satisfying and cogent analysis.
— Carl B. Boyer
British Journal for the History of Science - Alan Gabbey
Mahoney's sensitive handling of the material, his sharp appreciation of conceptual and notational subtleties, and his willingness to detail or reconstruct proofs and procedures, now make possible an appreciation of the real power and variety of Fermat's invention.
Science - Carl B. Boyer
A remarkably satisfying and cogent analysis.
From the Publisher

"Mahoney's sensitive handling of the material, his sharp appreciation of conceptual and notational subtleties, and his willingness to detail or reconstruct proofs and procedures, now make possible an appreciation of the real power and variety of Fermat's invention."--Alan Gabbey, British Journal for the History of Science

"A remarkably satisfying and cogent analysis."--Carl B. Boyer, Science

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691036663
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/17/1994
  • Series: Princeton Paperbacks Series
  • Edition description: 2nd ed
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 438
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Table of Contents


Preface (1994) ix
Introduction xi
Acknowledgments xvii
I. The Personal Touch 1
1. Mathematics in 1620
2. Fermat's Life and Career in Parlement
3. Motivation to Mathematics
II. Nullum Non Problema Solvere: Viete's Analytic Program and Its Influence on Fermat 26
1. Algebra, Analysis, and the Analytic Art
2. Following the "Precepts of the Art"
3. Fermat's Style of Work and His Influence on His Contemporaries
III. The Royal Road 72
1. Introduction
2. Fermat's Analytic Geometry, the Ad locos pianos et solidos isagoge
3. The Origins of the Isagoge: Apollonius' Plane Loci and Conics
4. Extensions of the System of the isagoge: The Isagoge ad locos ad superficiern
5. Uses of the System of the Isagoge: Graphic Solution and Classification of Equations
IV. Fashioning One's Own Luck 143
1. Introduction
2. The Roots of an Equation and the Roots of a Method
3. Of Dubious Parentage: The Method of Tangents
4. Looking Under the Bed: Descartes vs. Fermat, 1637-38
5. The Aftermath: Proceeding By Touch
6. Learning New Tricks: The Letter to Brulart
7. Fine Tuning: The Path Toward Quadrature and Rectification
V. Archimedes and The Theory of Equations 214
1. Introduction
2. From Spirals to Conoids
3. The Method of Centers of Gravity
4. The Treatise on Quadrature (ca. 1658)
5. The Treatise on Rectification (1660)
6. Fermat and the Calculus
VI. Between Traditions 283
1. Introduction
2. Numbers, Perfect and Not So Perfect
3. Triangles and Squares
4. Reclaiming the Patrimony: The Challenges of 1657
5. One Final Attempt: The "Relation" to Carcavi (1659) and the Method of Infinite Descent
6. Infinite Descent and the "Last Theorem"
Epilogue: Fermat in Retrospect 361
Appendix I: Sidelights on A Mathematical Career 368
1. Mechanics
2. Optics
3. Probability
Appendix II: Bibliographical Essay and Chronological Conspectus of Fermat's Works 411
Index 425
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)