Fermat's Last Theorem

Fermat's Last Theorem

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Fermat's Last Theorem. Mathematical notation summarising the theorem proposed in 1637 by French mathematician Pierre de Fermat. The theorem is defined using three non-zero integer numbers x, y, z, raised to the power of n. The notation used here states that when n is greater than 2, it is not possible for the sum of x and y (both raised to the power of n) to equal z raised to the power of n (equation at lower right). It took over 300 years for this theorem to be solved, and a proof was published to worldwide acclaim in 1995 after work by British mathematician Andrew Wiles and others. Some of the disallowed powers form the background.

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