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Fermat's Last Theorem and Unique Factorization

by

Karl Zimmermann
Union College

October 15, 2002
4:00 pm
Bailey Hall 100


Abstract:

It is often useful to write an integer n (where n is greater 1) as a product of primes. The Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic states that this is always possible, and moreover, that this factorization is unique. In this talk, I will illustrate what uniqueness means in this context, and give an elementary example of a number system in which unique factorization fails to hold. At the end of the talk, I'll mention the role that uniqueness of factorization played in 350 years of attempts to prove Fermat's Last Theorem.


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