Friday, April 29, 2005


I have long been fascinated by Fermat's Last Theorem and greatly excited by Andrew Wiles' proof. I have wanted for a long time to explore the history of the problem and also the amazing proof by Wiles.

Just this week, for example, I learned that another mathematician is about to provide a very significant result that builds on the work done by Wiles. For those interested this mathematician, Chandrashekhar Khare, has a home page here: After I get to Wiles' proof, I will attempt to also analyze Khare's result.

This blog will be an effort to trace the history of Fermat's Last Theorem and work through the details of the second version of Wiles's proof. Fermat has been called the Prince of Amateurs (Bell, Men of Mathematics) so I hope it is appropriate that this blog is also run by a mathematical amateur.

My goal in this blog is to present a set of proofs in a style very much like Euclid. Each proof presented will either rely on a previous blog or rely on a set of identified postulates. I am not a professional mathematician so I may make mistakes. I am hopeful that other participants will provide useful comments to keep the quality of this blog up.

The solution to Fermat's Last Theorem embodies a large part of the history of mathematics including many of its major results and many of its most famous persons. This blog will start with Fermat. For the most part, it will follow a historical flow, going from Fermat to Euler to Gauss to Kummer, etc.

It would be a shame to trace the history of the proof without also looking at the lives of the mathematicians involved. Some blog topics will explore the life and achievements of the participants of this story.

I look forward to people adding their comments and corrections to the biographies and the proofs. I think that this is one of the most exciting stories in all of mathematics and a blog is a great way to explore it.




Michael Paul Goldenberg said...

Very ambitious goal. I'm hoping that if I get very far with what you've done I'll find it enlightening.

It is certainly risky to take on something of this weight when you're not a professional mathematician but serious about providing reliable information. I'm not in a position to critique your work, and I wonder if as you went on you were able to get feedback from those who were well-qualified and able to do so. (As opposed to those offering up their one-page proofs of FLT, for instance). ;)

Larry Freeman said...

Hi Michael,

I've been doing this blog on-and-off for 5 years now.

I hope that you enjoy the blog! Feel free to offer comments or ask questions if anything is unclear.



Oscar Rojas said...

Hi Larry.

Please excuse my language faults: my first language is Spanish, then Math, then English.

I am math fan with some formal studies at university, but I am mostly an self-teaching person, lurking in libraries and now on the NET for interesting material.

I just discovery your amazing blog. I have the intention to study it from the prolog to the last entry.

By now I just want to say you: Thank you very much Larry for your contribution to the math fan community.

Oscar Rojas
Costa Rica

Justin Archer said...

Your link to the .edu page in this blog post is dead.

Jeff August said...

I'm impressed, I first looked here because of your derivation of the seventeenth roots of unity. I found that gold nugget in a gold mine.