Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Fermat's Last Theorem
Name: r w  and  carey w atkinson
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1995


Question:
There has been a recent "proof" of Fermat's Last theorem. Was it solved? What was the basis of the proof?


Replies:
Hopefully somebody here knows more than I do, but as I understood it, the "proof" was extremely complex and computationally intensive. I believe that even experts in the field are still debating its validity. Does anyone else know more?

richard a gerber


I have attended several talks by knowledgeable mathematicians who outlined the method of proof that was given by A. Wiles in his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. Each of these talks took an hour to present and included only descriptions of methods with few details and almost no proofs given. The whole paper is said to be over 100 pages of difficult mathematics a variety of areas of mathematics. It appears that Wiles has found a problem with a result of someone else's that he applied in his proof. The other result was not incorrect, but Wiles used a version that had not been proved. We eagerly await being informed whether the problem can be fixed. Is Fermat's Last Theorem still Fermat's Last Problem?

chaffer


Fermat's Last Theorem states that the equation
  a^n + b^n = c^n
  

has no integer solutions for n > 2. The theorem can be easily proved for some specific values of _n_, for example, n = 3. The hard part is proving it in general.

hawley



Click here to return to the Mathematics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory