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Fermat´s Last theorem - book by Simon Singh

  1. Jul 26, 2012 #1


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    I have been reading Fermat´s Last Theorem by Simon Singh and I noticed throughout he writes that the theorem states that there are no whole number solutions to x^n + y^n = z^n where n is greater than or equal to 3.
    What about the trivial solns such as x =0, y=1 and z=1 etc?
    Is this what the author means by no solutions, by ´not counting´these solns?
    If so, I find it ironic that Singh continually makes the point that mathematics is a very precise subject and yet there is a small subtlety here.
    Many thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2012 #2
    The key point is that, as you say, you need a whole number solution. Zero isn't a whole number, and so it can't be in a solution.
  4. Jul 26, 2012 #3
    Zero will be very disappointed to hear of its expulsion from the integers.

    Of course "whole number" is ambiguous, referring variously to positive integers, nonnegative integers, and integers. FLT refers to positive integers, which resolves the OP's concern.
  5. Jul 26, 2012 #4

    I was checking and yes: Singh comits the sin of lack of definition. In higher mathematics it is customary to state

    FLT just like he does but with the understanding what we're talking about non-trivial solutions, which

    are precisely the ones you mention. You can googloe FLT and find the correct statement in many sites, of course.

  6. Jul 26, 2012 #5

    It's a dwarf integer.

    Dammit, why does it complain that my message is too short?
    Here I'm trying to post a witty response and I have to put up with this crap. Dammit, still need 4 more characters. Oh wait, I just realizes, my message was too short - it's a dwarf reply!
  7. Jul 26, 2012 #6
    What is happening?
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