The extraordinary story of the solving of a puzzle that has confounded mathematicians since the 17th century. The solution of Fermat’s Last Theorem is the most important mathematical development of the 20th century.
In 1963 a schoolboy browsing in his local library stumbled across the world’s greatest mathematical problem: Fermat’sLast Theorem, a puzzle that every child can understand but which has baffled mathematicians for over 300 years. Aged just ten, Andrew Wiles dreamed that he would crack it. Wiles’s lifelong obsession with a seemingly simple challenge set by a long-dead Frenchman is an emotional tale of sacrifice and extraordinary determination. In the end, Wiles was forced to work in secrecy and isolation for seven years, harnessing all the power of modern maths to achieve his childhood dream. Many before him had tried and failed, including a 18-century philanderer who was killed in a duel. An 18-century French woman made a major breakthrough in solving the riddle, but she had to attend maths lectures at the Ecole Polytechnique disguised as a man since women were forbidden entry to the school. A remarkable story of human endeavour and intellectual brilliance over three centuries, Fermat‘s Last Theorem will fascinate both specialist and general readers.
About The Author
Simon Singh completed his PhD in particle physics at . After spending time at CERN, the European Centre for Particle Physics, he joined the BBC science department and was a producer and director on programmes such as Tomorrow's World, Horizon and Earth Story.
His documentary about the world's most notorious mathematical problem was nominated for an Emmy and won a BAFTA. In 1997 he wrote a book on the same subject, entitled Fermat's Last Theorem, which was the first mathematics book to become a No.1 bestseller in and which has been translated into over 20 languages.
In 1999 Simon published The Code Book, a history of codes and code breaking, which also became an international best-seller. He presented a 5-part series on the history of cryptography for Channel 4. The Science of Secrecy, based on The Code Book. His most prized possession is a genuine World War II Enigma cipher machine.
While continuing to write, Simon also presents programmes such as The Serendipity of Science and Five Numbers on Radio 4 and Mind Games on BBC4.
Simon lives in . His hobbies include gambling and listening to the Dixie Chicks and the Violent Femmes. You can find out more about Simon's work and how to contact him via his website.