Review: Fermat’s Enigma, Simon Singh

Rating: 5 out of 5

I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this, which this margin is too narrow to contain.” … Maths is beautiful. Maths is lovely. Maths is interesting. These three claims may be dubious, but if nowhere else then at least in narrative history, these have a chance of being true.

The story of de Fermat and his last theorem has been with me for a long time. I don’t remember how or when I first discovered it, but our first interaction I remember was in one of Arthur Clarke’s books, ‘The Last Theorem’. While not the best novel ever written, it was decent and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The name of Fermat’s Last Theorem has stayed with me ever since. It was therefore with excitement that I took up this book which provides the more real story of how the puzzle was solved.

There is some maths involved in the narrative, but it is well-explained and clearly presented, which even in the audiobook version I found it understandable (even if I couldn’t reproduce it now!). This should not be the obstacle to anyone who would like to pick up this book! In the end, the maths is secondary to the story of how through three and a half centuries, people were obsessed about a puzzle which has such innocuous beginnings. I heartily recommend this!

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