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Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician

Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician

H406/0135

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Pierre de Fermat. Engraving of Pierre de Fermat (1601-1665), French mathematician. Fermat did not publish his work in the usual sense and his results (often without proofs) are known through his letters to friends. He corresponded with Pascal on probability theory. Fermat also worked on number theory, analytical geometry and the maximum and minimum values of functions. The proofs for Fermat's work were largely published by Euler, but Fermat's Last Theorem was not proved until 1993 by Andrew Wiles. In physics Fermat devised Fermat's principle to derive the path taken by light rays and used it to deduce the laws of reflection and refraction of light.

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