Pierre de Fermat was a French mathematician, born in 1601, in Beaumont de Lomagne. He made many important discoveries in mathematics.

Fermat developed his career in the legal profession but loved mathematics and worked on it as a hobby. He kept in contact with many of the leading mathematicians of his day through writing letters.

Fermat would often scribble notes in the margins of books that he read. On one occasion he stated that the equation *x*^{n} + *y*^{n} = *z*^{n} would have no solutions with whole number values for *x*, *y*,*z* and *n* whenever *n* is greater than 2. He also said that he had discovered the most remarkable proof of this result, but that the margin was too small to hold it.

This statement became known as Fermat’s last theorem. His proof was never found and many scholars attempted to either prove or disprove the result. In 1908 (around 250 years after Fermat made his statement) the German mathematician P.Wolfskehl offered a prize of 100000 marks as a prize for the first complete proof. Many attempts have been made and a lot of new mathematics has been produced in the process.

In June 1993 the British-born mathematician Andrew Wiles presented a proof to a conference at Cambridge. His proof ran to 1000 pages but turned out to be incomplete. Wiles re-submitted his proof in November 1994 and this version has been accepted.

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