By Simon Singh
xn + yn = zn, where n represents 3, 4, 5, …no solution
“I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain.”
With these words, the seventeenth-century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat threw down the gauntlet to future generations. What came to be known as Fermat’s Last Theorem looked simple; proving it, however, became the Holy Grail of mathematics, baffling its finest minds for more than 350 years. In Fermat’s Enigma–based on the author’s award-winning documentary film, which aired on PBS’s “Nova”–Simon Singh tells the astonishingly entertaining story of the pursuit of that grail, and the lives that were devoted to, sacrificed for, and saved by it. Here is a mesmerizing tale of heartbreak and mastery that will forever change your feelings about mathematics.