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The World's Most Famous Math Problem: The Proof of Fermat's Last Theorem and Other Mathematical Mysteries Paperback – October 15, 1993
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“A delightful, informative, and accurate book about the probable proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. [This book is] highly recommended even to readers who think they hate math.” ―Martin Gardner
“Within a few minutes of the conclusion of his [Dr. Wiles's] final lecture, computer mail messages were winging around the world as mathematicians alerted each other to the startling and wholly unexpected result.” ―the New York Times
About the Author
Marilyn vos Savant's "Ask Marilyn" column is featured in Parade magazine every Sunday. She lives in New York City.
Top Customer Reviews
Physicists, they also need to use math. However, they're only interested in math to describe Nature. So they may not do everything rigorously - perhaps they extend the results of a theorem to a place where the hypotheses do not strictly hold, or say something is "intuitively obvious". The brilliant physicists are normally right, and many physicists are also great mathematicians.
Chemists (primarily physical chemists) use math too, since they need a way to describe whatever they're working on accurately. But they don't care about proof at all. They'll just use whatever works, and ignore all the theory. This is okay, except that they don't get a complete understanding of the underlying mathematics, and as such, don't know much about math.
Now, philosophers, they use mathematics and logic to try to bring validity to their arguments. The majority of them fail miserably, and end up stumbling all over their words. This isn't to say that all philosophers don't know what they're talking about - a few do, the best example being Bertrand Russell, who was a great mathematician and philosopher. But most philosophers that use math don't use it in the correct spirit.
Now, I have discovered a new low in mathematics. I'll call it "Savant mathematics", in honor of the person who originated it.Read more ›
Contrary to the review below, Wiles' proof of Fermat's last theorem did NOT involve the use of computers. Second, Marilyn vos Savant's purported insight that Wiles' proof can not be the same as Fermat's proof is rather innocuous. Again, if this observation is what entices the reader to pick up a book on Fermat's last theorem, try one of the other two titles which I recommended; both provide explanations of why Wiles' proof and Fermat's proof (if he truly had one) are not identical. Third, if Wiles' proof is correct, then he did indeed "solve" Fermat's last theorem. One should not confuse the NAME given to a theorem with the particular APPROACH used to prove it. In this case, Wiles has proved Fermat's last theorem, even though he may not have reproduced Fermat's proof.
But my complaints with this book don't really have anything to do with the previous paragraph. Instead, Marilyn vos Savant's book has two significant shortcomings. First, the book spends very little time actually discussing _The World's Most Famous Math Problem_, contrary to what the title suggests. There is little meat on the bones, so to speak. Second, the story is not complete.Read more ›
I currently go to high school, and when I heard that you released a new book, I went ahead and got it. When I first read it, I was in disbelief; I thought maybe I wasn't smart enough to understand the logic, because it didn't make any sense to me. When I showed it to my high school math teacher, she said that you were wrong, but I didn't believe them. I went to my local college and asked the professors there, and they all said that you were wrong. I've searched and searched online and everyone says you're wrong.
I've tried to tell myself "this is just like the Monte Carlo goat-door problem; everyone said 1/2, but you said 1/3, and you were right." But if you're right, then why does math still work at all? You disprove it in your book! If it turns out that you were wrong on such a large magnitude, then I don't know what role models to believe in anymore.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is either the work of a crackpot or charlatan, I can't decide which. I guess if I had to say something positive about the book, I'd say that if you want to read a book about... Read morePublished 5 months ago by V
Marilyn vos Savant probably misunderstood mathematical induction at the time she wrote this book in 1993. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Richard Locke Peterson
I love Marilyn vos savant's writing so much, but I was really disappointed with this book. She claims she wrote the book in three weeks, but I can't believe it took her that long. Read morePublished on December 25, 2012 by David Milliern
The item i bought is a book. I have not red it yet but what i can say is that it has arrived until my home in Italy with a very little late. Read morePublished on December 24, 2011 by Ivan
This is not a critique of the book itself so much as an adjustment of the next buyer's expectations. Read morePublished on April 20, 2011 by Jacob
I stumbled upon this book while browsing in a bookstore long ago. I imagined from the title that she was attempting to explain to the public Sir Andrew Wiles' great accomplishment... Read morePublished on May 31, 2008 by Marvin J. Greenberg
I picked this up cheaply at a used book shop based on Marilyn Vos Savant's reputation, she has the world's highest I.Q., and I was curious as to what her writing was like. Read morePublished on December 3, 2005 by Vincent Poirier
Ah, these poor little threatened egos on display: How dare anyone contradict the university professionals? How dare anyone have an opinion outside the status quo? Read morePublished on January 11, 2005 by Miles W. Mathis
Isn't it just marvelous, finally a chance to polish up my knowledge of the worlds most famous maths problem. Read morePublished on March 26, 2004 by Will T