Andrew Wiles

Sunday, 2 November 2008

I try to watch as much to YouTube as I can. Usually I search for science, mysteries, documentaries, interviews, etcetera. Here is one of the best documentaries that I have ever seen, on one of the best stories that I know of. The person who uploaded the documentary in five parts writes this about it:
”Everytime I see Andrew Wiles at the beginning of the movie trembling his word out, I feel something warm inside me. I hope it does to you too. This is a story of Fermat’s Last Theorem and people who worked on the problem for their life time.”
Here is what is said about Fermat’s last theorem in Wikipedia:
”Fermat’s last theorem is strikingly different and much more difficult to prove than the analogous problem for n = 2… The fact that the problem’s statement is understandable by schoolchildren makes it all the more frustrating, and it has probably generated more incorrect proofs than any other problem in the history of mathematics. No correct proof was found for 357 years, when a proof was finally published by Andrew Wiles in 1994. The term “last theorem” resulted because all the other theorems proposed by Fermat were eventually proved or disproved, either by his own proofs or by other mathematicians, in the two centuries following their proposition.”
And here is the documentary:

I have little talent for the hard sciences. But I understand just enough of mathematics and physics to get goose bumps of this story. And it is not a story: this really happened. One of the reasons why it touches me so much is that it is archetypical. But of a rare event: I don’t know any other story of a person whose dream came through in such a spectacular way during his lifetime. So, I wonder, why did it happen to him? Is there anything to learn from Andrew Wiles? Are there methods for making a dream come true?