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LivMS Christmas Lecture – Online event

15 December 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Simon Singh https://simonsingh.net/ , best-selling author of “Fermat’s Last Theorem”, talks about the most notorious problem in the history of mathematics.


Rarely can a scribbled note in a margin have provoked so much mathematical curiosity as Pierre de Fermat‘s infamous conjecture, discovered after his death, that no three positive whole numbera,a, b,b, and cc satisfy the equation anan + bnbn = cncn for any whole-number value of nn greater than 2.

Fermat claimed to have a proof, but left no record of it, stating only that the margin was too small to contain it. This unproven result became known as Fermat’s Last Theorem. Generations of mathematicians tried and failed across more than three centuries to prove the general case, though it was proved for numerous particular values of nn (even by Fermat for nn = 4). Finally in 1994, Andrew (later Sir Andrew) Wiles announced to the world that the problem was solved, though there were some gaps which were filled by Wiles and his former student Richard Taylor.

Simon Singh made an award-winning documentary about this achievement and also wrote a best-selling book. In this lecture, he will talk us through the history of Fermat’s Last Theorem and give us an idea of how it was eventually proved using ground-breaking new mathematics.


15 December 2021
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Peter Giblin