Fermat's Last Theorem
So many wonderful pages about Fermat's last theorem exist that I avoided having one, even when I was frequently asked about the absence. I finally decided to put a reference, at least with some links to some other great sites, in order to include the following anecdote from Mathematical Apocrypha by Steven Krantz.
"After Andrew Wiles proved Fermat's Last Theorem he became quite a celebrity. News crews were all over the Princepton Math Department for several days. Wiles received many unusual phone calls-at least unusual for a mathematician. One was from the Gap stores, who wanted him to advertise their jeans. Another was from newscaster Barbara Walter's assistants, who invited Wiles to appear on Walter's television show. Andy's response was, "Who is Barabara Walters?" The assistant informed him, and said she would get back to him with furthur information. When they phoned him back they told Andy that they had decided not to interview him after all, they were going to do Clint Eastwood instead."
The Story of Fermat and his footnote (To divide a cube into two other cubes, a fourth power or in general any power whatever into two powers of the same denomination above the second is impossible, and I have assuredly found an admirable proof of this, but the margin is too narrow to contain it. ) in Diaphontus's Arithmetica as well as a nice history of the theorem can be found at the St Andrews Web site. They also have this image of Fermat and his muse at his hometown of Toulouse . It reminds me of a story I heard, but cannot find in my notes, that a copy of the statue is in the backroom of some Paris museum because the Muse was too provocative.
For those who want to try to understand the proof (not at all like understanding the problem itself) there is a web site which trys to distill it down for those of us who are not in the eleven (supposedly when the proof was given a newspaper quoted someone in Princton (JHC???) as saying that only eleven people in the world could understand the proof).
Wikipedia is becoming one of those sites where you can find some good math explanations, and they have a good reference on the FLT which includes a really unflattering picture of the prince of amatuer mathematicians.
The Clay Mathematical Institute has made available a CD of the "Musical Fantasy", Fermat's Last Tango. It is available from them at a rather remarkably low price.