chapter  11
9 Pages

Fermat’s Legendary Last Theorem

WithMalcolm E Lines

Among the vast population of non-mathematicians and non-scientists of this world perhaps the two best known examples of algebraic equations are the E = m c 2 of Einstein and the a 2 + b 2 = c 2 of Pythagoras. The Pythagorean theorem, as it is more usually known, is a statement about right-angled triangles which says that the square of the longest side c of such a triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the two shorter sides a and b. Although the original statement was basically geometric it did pose an interesting associated mathematical question, namely ‘what are the whole number solutions of the Pythagorean equation?’ Of course, there is no particular reason why one should restrict solutions of a 2 + b 2 = c 2