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Fermat's Last Theorem

by

A Horizon Documentary

May 14, 2013
4:45 pm
Bailey Hall 207

Refreshments will be served in Bailey Hall 204 at 4:30


Abstract:

This documentary, produced by BBC for its popular science and philosopy show Horizon, uses the search for a proof of Fermat's famous theorem to provide a better understanding of the quest for knowledge. It is this quest that apparently motivates mathematicians to attempt to solve what many feel is the unsolvable. Fermat's Last Theorem states that for all natural numbers $n$ greater than $2, x^n + y^n = z^n$ has no solutions among natural numbers $x, y,$ and $z$ unless at least one of $x, y$, or $z$ is $0$. Over 300 years ago, Fermat claimed he had a proof of this result but the margin of the paper was too small to include it. Since this problem had an obvious link with the Pythagorean Theorem (and because Fermat wrote that he had a proof) many mathematicians felt that the argument might be found quickly. But for centuries people struggled to uncover the proof, and it was not until the mid 1990s that Andrew Wiles of Princeton University finally succeeded.


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