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.
|Edition description:||First Trade Paper Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.37(d)|
About the Author
Amir D. Aczel, a visiting scholar in the history of science at Harvard, earned both his B.A. in mathematics and master of sciences degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. His books have been translated into fifteen languages.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I became enamored with Wiles' accomplishment and bought this book and the NOVA PBS tape. I took ample notes off of the tape. This book...no notes at all. I got the feeling at the end that it was more important for Aczel to criticize Wiles' accomplishment rather than describe it. I don't know what Aczel's credentials are, but I've never heard of him in relation to this proof. I don't know if buying some other book on the subject would be any better than this however. The Singh book seems to be reviewed as not being very descriptive of the actual proof. The NOVA video on the subject is excellent.
I found several interesting thoughts coming from this book. It is short and the history behind Fermat s theorem is interesting.
This really was a poorly done book that was disappointing to have purchased. The book is not well edited and is well written only in parts. The opening is well written which is why I purchased this book. The rest is choppy and disorganized. The author seems to have a grudge against Professor Wiles, although the reason for this is unclear. The point of the book, that Wiles work was based on work done by many before him, is so obvious that a book to make the point is unnecessary. All scientific advances are based in part on the work that came before. To my knowledge, Wiles never claimed otherwise. The author also seems annoyed over the amount of press coverage Wiles received but again nothing in the book supports the idea that Wiles courted the press. The book is both too long (in its unnecessary and disorganized discussion of the historical background) and too short (in its discussion of Wiles solving the problem). I have to think there is a better book out there.