1601-1665

Fer... What?

- Born August 17, 1601 in Beaumont-de- Lomagne, France.

- 1 brother of the same name.

- 2 sisters.

- A father who was a successful leather merchant at the time.

- A mother who was born in a noble family, who held positions in the Parliament of France at the time.

- He was able to live comfortably and luxuriously in financial aspects.

Fun Fact:

Since Fermat was born in a wealthy family, the mansion he grew up in is actually now a museum.

Early Beginnings...

- As a child, Fermat attended a Franciscan Monastery to pursue his education as a Roman Catholic.

- As he matured, he entered the University of Toulouse.

- Not long after, he transferred over to the University of Bordeaux and then the University of Orleans, where he earned a degree in CIVIL LAW to become a lawyer.

- Although he had deep interest in mathematics, he only treated it as a hobby.

Achievements... Aside from mathematics.

- Highly sought after as a lawyer and was extremely busy.

- Ended up working in the French Parliament, much like the members of his mother's family.

- He started working at the lowest-ranking part of the parliament, but worked his way up to highest, the grand criminal court.

Math as a HOBBY!

- Fermat chose not to pursue a career in Mathematics, as not many mathematicians at the time were given highly rewarding employment oppurtunities.

- During his spare time, he was deeply interested in reading the "Arithmetica" by the Greek mathematician, Diophantus, which was a book of 130 unique algebraic problems.

- Fermat was able to solve many of it's problems, and in his own copy he was known to write his work and notes in the book's margins.

"The Prince of Amateurs"

- During his life, Fermat met many other mathematicians.

- With his colleagues, they would discuss and solve many mathematical challenges.

- Fermat gained the title "The Prince of Amateurs", as he was infamously known for solving equations without showing much of his work, submitting his work anonymously, or sending his proof to his colleagues.

- Fermat didn't want to be known as a professional mathematician, but only as an amateur and by doing that he was able to.

This would include...

and Pascal!

Rivalry with Descartes.

- During his lifetime, Fermat was also known for getting in disputes with a few other mathematicians.

- Since he was not professionaly known as a mathematician, many people thought he did not have the education to be correcting or questioning other mathematicians' work.

- One his most well-known disputes was with Rene Descartes who is known as the "Father of Analytic Geometry" (basically, geometry using coordinates.)

- In Descarte's published book "La geometrie", Fermat was known to have corrected one of Descarte's statements critically affecting analytic geometry.

- To this day, many people still look up to Fermat as somebody who had founded analytic geometry, without publishing any of his work.

Fun Fact:

Descartes wrote to another praised mathematician of the time, Mersenne, and claimed Fermat was inadequate as a mathematician and a thinker.

A few other contributions...

- Although he was not considered a professional mathematician, Fermat was able to impact the way we see math today.

- Even Isaac Newton was astonished by the way Fermat drew tangents, which inspired his own ideas of calculas.

- Another example of one of his great achievements would be his "least time principle". In general, Fermat claims that light traveling from one point to another will take the quickest path, even if it is reflected or refracted off of another surface.

Fermat's Last Theorem

- The greatest legacy Fermat left behind after his death and also the main reason he is so well-known.

- Claimed to have been the "world's hardest math problem" for around 350 years.

- No mathematician was able to solidly prove it until 1995.

- Fermat claimed he was able to solve it on one the notes he left on the margin of a book, but also said he did not have enough room to show his work...

What is Fermat's last theorem?

- Very similar to Pythagoras' theorem.

- Instead Fermat says...

- In other words...

It took around 3 centuries for one math problem to be solved...

- Andrew Wiles, a graduate from the University of Oxford with a PHD from the University of Cambridge, was finally able to prove Fermat's last theorem.

- In all, the whole process took him about 3 years.

- He had more than 200 PAGES OF WORK just for this one math problem.

Fun Fact:

In 1992, 2 mathematicians used a super computer which was able to prove Fermat's last theorem up to powers as large as 4 million! To their unhappiness, this problem was still considered unknown.

Fermat's End

- At the age of 63, on January 12, 1665, Pierre De Fermat passed away in Castres, Tarn.

- Before his end, he was able to marry and have 5 children.

- In honour of his father, one of Fermat's sons was able to find most of his father's notes and have them published, which is one of the main reasons why we are able to remember his achievements.

- In 1653, Fermat was falsely claimed to have passed away due to the plague.

- The oldest highschool in Toulouse is named in his honour, "Lycee Pierre de Fermat".

Fun Fact:

- Mersenne, well known for his findings in geometry.

- Huygens, well known for his findings in mechanics and inventing the pendulum clock.

All about Pierre de Fermat

4:10 - 5:54

**By Peter Lee and Sean Paredes!!!**