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History of Fermat's Last Theorem

Pierre de Fermat (1601-1665) was a lawyer and amateur mathematician. In about 1637, he annotated his copy (now lost) of Bachet's translation of Diophantus' Arithmetika with the following statement:

Cubum autem in duos cubos, aut quadratoquadratum in duos quadratoquadratos, et generaliter nullam in infinitum ultra quadratum potestatem in duos ejusdem nominis fas est dividere: cujus rei demonstrationem mirabilem sane detexi. Hanc marginis exiguitas non caperet.
In English, and using modern terminology, the paragraph above reads as:
There are no positive integers such that for n>2. I've found a remarkable proof of this fact, but there is not enough space in the margin [of the book] to write it.
Fermat never published a proof of this statement. It became to be known as Fermat's Last Theorem (FLT) not because it was his last piece of work, but because it is the last remaining statement in the post-humous list of Fermat's works that needed to be proven or independently verified. All others have either been shown to be true or disproven long ago.

Alex Lopez-Ortiz
Mon Feb 23 16:26:48 EST 1998