Book Review of "Fermat's Enigma"

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The book that I chose to read was Fermat's Enigma by Simon Singh. It was quite a journey through mathematics to learn about all the work that went into proving Fermat's Last Theorem (shown above). Sometimes it can take hundreds of years and many of the greatest critical thinkers adding their bits and pieces along the way until it finally accumulates into a fully formed proof. This book took me through many of the well known concepts in math, for example using an algorithmic method to accurately make an approximation. Also it talks of how certain concepts were thought of and implemented into being widely used. It definitely taught me some things I did not previously know about the Imaginary Numbers!

Next, I would overall say that this book is worth reading if you have a slight amount of mathematical knowledge, else it may be a bit tough to follow at some points. It was well written, but as it is this author's first book, it tends to be a bit dry at times (His other book that I read, The Code Book, flowed much better in comparison). As long as you don't mind holding on for a few more pages, he does usually explain proofs very well by the end of the section. Also, he keeps the mood light by throwing in a few hilarious math jokes that will at the very least make you groan.

Mr. Singh did a wonderful job explaining most of the mathematical ideas that were used--excluding the part about how elliptic curves all have a modular form. I would recommend reading this book if you are a beginner in mathematics and would like to learn more about how extensive the process of proving an important theorem really can be.

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  1. Solid review. Do you think the Code Book should be on the 495 list? I've been curious about it.


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