77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
A fantastic trip through mathematics and history,
This review is from: Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem (Paperback)
After enjoying Singh's "The Code Book" I picked up a copy of Fermat's Enigma. The problem itself was somewhat interesting to me, but I hoped Singh presentation of the story would be as good as "The Code Book". I wasn't disappointed. The solution to the problem is wrapped in a compelling story that takes you through the history of mathematics, starting before Fermat's time. Along the way Singh takes time to point out both the highlights and tragedies of mathematics, while weaving in elements of Andrew Wiles' life.
While the math behind the final solution to be problem may be out of reach for most people, Singh successfully communicates the essence of the mathematics used. The book is not complex or saturated with equations and is accessible to just about anyone. For those more interested in the mathematics, Singh includes a complete set of appendices containing problems and proofs from each era of mathematics he discusses.
All in all, a great read. Highly recommended.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 19, 2010 6:37:42 AM PST
Joe Phillips says:
Great review Mr Welzel. I could not agree more with all of your points. I read this a couple years back and was thoroughly captivated by the story. I guess I will now pick up Singh's "The Code Book". Thanks for the review.
Posted on Jun 20, 2014 8:28:06 AM PDT
George B. Purdy says:
I agree. The book is a real page turner. I will just mention one math error: Wiles did not prove the Taniyama-Shimira conjecture, as claimed in the book. He only proved a special case that was enough to prove Fermat's Last Theorem. But he developed enough new methods that others were able to prove the conjecture.
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