One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A conjecture by Fermat that if n is an integer greater than 2, the equation xn + yn = zn has no positive integral solutions. Fermat noted that he had ‘a truly wonderful proof’ of the conjecture, but never wrote it down. In 1995 a general proof was published by the Princeton-based British mathematician Andrew Wiles.
- ‘But what about the majority of us, the social, stylish people with a lot more going on inside their heads than equations and conversations on the true meanings of Fermat's last theorem?’
- ‘In 1769, while thinking about the problem now known as Fermat's last theorem, Leonhard Euler proposed an intriguing variant.’
- ‘And like Fermat's last theorem, Beal's conjecture postulates that there are no solutions of the specified kind.’
- ‘By assuming that Fermat's last theorem is false, mathematicians could construct a weird elliptic curve that they believed, for other mathematical reasons, shouldn't exist.’
- ‘As in the case of Fermat's last theorem, centuries of effort may go into proving such tantalizing, deceptively simple conjectures in number theory.’
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