Fermat's last theorem


Fer·mat's last theorem

noun \fer-ˈmäz-\

Definition of FERMAT'S LAST THEOREM

:  a theorem in number theory: the equation xⁿ + yⁿ = zⁿ has no solutions when x, y, z, and n are all positive integers and n is greater than 2

Origin of FERMAT'S LAST THEOREM

Pierre de Fermat
First Known Use: 1847

Fermat's last theorem

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Statement that there are no natural numbers x, y, and z such that xn + yn = zn, in which n is a natural number greater than 2. About this, Pierre de Fermat wrote in 1637 in his copy of Diophantus's Arithmetica, “I have discovered a truly remarkable proof but this margin is too small to contain it.” Although the theorem was subsequently shown to be true for many specific values of n, leading to important mathematical advances in the process, the difficulty of the problem soon convinced mathematicians that Fermat never had a valid proof. In 1995 the British mathematician Andrew Wiles (b. 1953) and his former student Richard Taylor (b. 1962) published a complete proof, finally solving one of the most famous of all mathematical problems.

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