Pierre de Fermat's Last Theorem celebrated in a cheeky Google doodle
By NATHAN GREEN - GUARDIAN.CO.UK
Added: Wed, 17 Aug 2011 20:34:02 UTC
Pierre de Fermat, born on this day in 1601, and his famous Last Theorem in today's Google doodle.
Joyeux anniversaire, Pierre de Fermat! Today is the French mathematician's 410th birthday.
Fermat is best known as the originator or Fermat's Last Theorem, which consists of a deceptively simple-looking formula famously scrawled in a book's margin, where he claimed the proof was too large to fit. The theorem's fame grew because – despite the efforts of countless mathematicians – four centuries would pass before the publication of a successful proof in 1995 by Sir Andrew Wiles, a Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford.
Fermat's birthday is marked today with a Google doodle, and in a wry reference to the mathematician's original margin note, if you hover your mouse over the doodle the alt text is "I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this theorem, which this doodle is too small to contain."
According to the theorem, for any integer n greater than two, there are no positive integers a, b, and c that can satisfy the equation:
an + bn = cn
You may recognise from your school days the simple case when n = 2 as Pythagoras' Theorem.
Perhaps Fermat would have preferred to be remembered for something other than a small comment in the margin of a book? Here are some of the things that you may not know about Pierre de Fermat.