Author : Simon Singh
What an absolute page-turner this book turned out to be. While the book’s title suggests its focus on the great puzzle left by Fermat, it is essentially about the history of Number Theory and the lives of mathematicians who dare to delve into this esoteric field. It is amazing that such an innocent-looking equation (xn+yn=zn) can cause so much distress to many generations of mathematicians. The author Simon Singh does a great job in laying out the foundation of many mathematical concepts that are later used by Andrew Wiles in finding the solution of Fermat’s last theorem. I think even someone unfamiliar with the details of these mathematical concepts should be able to understand them based on the information provided by the author. I am glad that I stumbled upon this book. I particularly found the glimpses into the lives of Pythagoras, Euler, Galois, and Taniyama extremely fascinating, and hoping to read more about them.
Some topics discussed in the book:
- Fermat’s Last Theorem (as the title suggests)
- Taniyama–Shimura conjecture: A bridge between two different field of mathematics
- Langlands program: The search for a unified theory of mathematics
- Pythagoreanism: Basically a cult of Pythagoras