Pierre de Fermat
I have discovered a truly remarkable proof of this theorem which this margin is too small to contain...
Pierre de Fermat (17 August 1601 – 12 January 1665) was a French mathematician and lawyer of Basque origin at the Parliament of Toulouse.
Last modified on 9 May 2013, at 22:47
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- Cuius rei demonstrationem mirabilem sane detexi hanc marginis exiguitas non caperet.
- I have discovered a truly remarkable proof of this theorem which this margin is too small to contain.
- Note written on the margins of his copy of Claude-Gaspar Bachet's translation of the famous Arithmetica of Diophantus, this was taken as an indication of what became known as Fermat's last theorem, a correct proof for which would be found only 357 years later; as quoted in Number Theory in Science and Communication (1997) by Manfred Robert Schroeder
- Et cette proposition est généralement vraie en toutes progressions et en tous nombres premiers; de quoi je vous envoierois la démonstration, si je n'appréhendois d'être trop long.
- And this proposition is generally true for all progressions and for all prime numbers; the proof of which I would send to you, if I were not afraid to be too long.
- Fermat (in a letter dated October 18, 1640 to his friend and confidant Frénicle de Bessy) commenting on his statement that p divides a p−1 − 1 whenever p is prime and a is coprime to p (this is what is now known as Fermat's little theorem).