When you scroll over Google’s latest Doodle honoring 17th century mathematician Pierre de Fermat there is a message that states “I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this theorem, which this doodle is too small to contain.” The statement parodies Fermat’s Last Theorem – that was written in the margin of a copy of Diophantus’ Arithmetica.
Fermat (born 17 August 1601 – 12 January 1665) was a French lawyer who loved math and contributed to much of the early thought on calculus and also made “notable contributions to analytic geometry, probability, and optics.”
“In number theory, Fermat’s Last Theorem states that no three positive integers a, b, and c can satisfy the equation an + bn = cn for any integer value of n greater than two.
This theorem was first conjectured by Pierre de Fermat in 1637, famously in the margin of a copy of Arithmetica where he claimed he had a proof that was too large to fit in the margin. No successful proof was published until 1995 despite the efforts of countless mathematicians during the 358 intervening years,” Wikipedia explained.
My teenaged daughter was the one who alerted me to the Doodle saying Google was doing a back to school warning! When I told her to click on it and she saw what it was about I got the response “oh math”.
Let’s hope the doodle inspires more than it shows the lack of interest in math in the age of computers and calculators.