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Pierre de Fermat's Last Theorem celebrated in a cheeky Google doodle

Pierre de Fermat, born on this day in 1601, and his famous Last Theorem in today's Google doodle.
Photograph: Google

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.
Read more



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