Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fermat's last minifig

Pierre de Fermat (here LEGO-ized by Michael Jasper) was an important mathematician, a contemporary of Descartes and an inspirer of Newton. He's probably most famous for his "last theorem". We all know that for a right triangle, the side lengths work out so that a2+b2=c2. There don't seem to be any integers that fit into equations such as a3+b3=c3 or a4+b4=c4. Fermat noted in the margin of a book he was reading that he had a proof for that, and for all other integer powers greater than 2, but he didn't have space to write down his proof. This inspired the next two centuries of mathematicians, until Andrew Wiles finally completed the proof in 1995. He received a knighthood for his work! Who says mathematicians aren't cool?


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