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Union College Math Department

January 26, 1998
5:30 pm
Math Common Lounge

Refreshments served during the seminar.


This documentary show produced by Nova was on last fall, and it uses the search for a proof of Fermat's famous theorem to provide the viewer with a better understanding of the quest for knowledge. It is this quest that apparently motivates mathematicians to solve or attempt to solve what many feel is the unsolvable. For those of you that are not familiar with Fermat's Last Theorem, it states that for all natural numbers n greater than 2, xn + yn = zn has no roots among natural numbers x, y, and z. Moreover, Fernat stated that he had a proof of this result, but the margin of the paper was to small to include it. Since this problem had an obvious link with the Pythagorean Theorem and Fermat stated that he had a proof, mathematicians several centuries ago felt that the proof would be solved immediately. But, for centuries people struggled to uncover the proof, and it was not until recently that Dr. Wiles announced his proof of Fermat's theorem. For further information on the documentary or on Fermat's Last Theorem, please contact http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/proof/.

**There will be a pizza served before hand.

For additional information, send e-mail to math@union.edu or call (518) 388-6246.
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