Amir Aczel

Fermat's Last Theorem

Andrew Wiles has now proved Fermat's Last Theorem, but to most of us it's still as much of a mystery as it ever was. In Fermat's Last Theorem Amir Aczel gives us the background to this proof, describing the evolution of the mathematics involved, and the stories of mathematicians who have tried in the past to prove it but failed. Several convinced themselves that they had cracked it, only to have a fatal flaw discovered in their proof. The book is written in a non-technical way, with hardly any mathematical notation, and so it will appeal to the non-mathematical reader who wants to find out what all the fuss was about.

Simon Singh has written a book with the same title, and it's natural to compare the two. Well Aczel's is shorter, so it might appeal to someone wanting a less detailed read. The historical phase gives more information on the mathematicians involved than just their work related to FLT. Hence the book seems to wander around more than Singh's - one gets less of the idea of a thread running through the book.. There is more treatment of modular forms - their history, and simple descriptions, as well as the stories of Shimura, Taniyama and Weil. But in conclusion I would say that this book is aimed at those wanting an easy to read overview of FLT.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 160 pages  
ISBN: 0385319460
Salesrank: 2129474
Weight:0.25 lbs
Published: 1997 Delta
Amazon price $2.50
Marketplace:New from $2.50:Used from $0.24
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 147 pages  
ISBN: 0385319460
Salesrank: 7841699
Weight:0.25 lbs
Published: 1997 Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group
Marketplace::Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 160 pages  
ISBN: 0385319460
Salesrank: 2460560
Weight:0.25 lbs
Published: 1997 Delta
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 24.74:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description
Over three hundred years ago, a French scholar scribbled a simple theorem in the margin of a book.  It would become the world's most baffling mathematical mystery.

Simple, elegant, and utterly impossible to prove, Fermat's Last Theorem captured the imaginations of amateur and professional mathematicians for over 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, Dr.  Amir Aczel reveals the previously untold story of the people, the history, and the cultures that lie behind this scientific triumph.

From formulas devised for 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.