# Strantor inspired post...

Thread Starter

#### justtrying

Joined Mar 9, 2011
429
I have been more of a lurker here for a while, but last post by Strantor (and replies to it), lead to this

I have myself been always obsessed with works of Fermat and Euler. Euler especially because he worked in my hometown and is buried there.

How does it relate to the other post?

I was talking to a friend about Fermat's theorem and about the search for proof. His comment was, it is useless anyway and is just a logic exercise... end of conversation

#### strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,226
I'm going to intentionally erase this from my memory. I don't need any more unanswerable riddles.

#### tracecom

Joined Apr 16, 2010
3,944
I am no mathematician, but I watched the movie with interest.

But according to Wikipedia, a guy named Wiles proved Fermat's Last Theorem to be correct...right?

Thread Starter

#### justtrying

Joined Mar 9, 2011
429
I am no mathematician, but I watched the movie with interest.

But according to Wikipedia, a guy named Wiles proved Fermat's Last Theorem to be correct...right?
Yes, the theorem has been proven by Andrew Wiles. There is a PBS documentary about. It is quite a story in its own right.

Much earlier Euclid proved it for n=3 only (I'm a big fan of Euclid)

The mystery remains to some extent because the proof is clearly not the proof that Fermat claimed to have as it involves mathematics that did not exist at the time. Was his claim legitimate? Did he have it? Is there a simpler, more elegant proof of it? I think people are still trying to find the "original" proof of it...

But yes, no sense in loosing too much sleep over it

#### GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
I started reading the book, Fermat's last theorem. I had to stop - there were too many enigmas in my life at the time. I couldn't afford one more. The book is still above my desk, taunting me to read it again now that my kids are grown and gone and my life much simpler.

#### tcmtech

Joined Nov 4, 2013
2,867
It always amazes me how much trouble people have when trying to do mathematics with the alphabet.

Maybe if enough people worked on figuring out how to flap their arms just the right way they could fly like birds too!

#12

#### #12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,210
And what do I take from this movie?

The field of mathematics is far wider and deeper than what I have accomplished, but it must be finite if the best mathematicians have time to spend centuries on this speculation. I can understand that there is a tantalizing fantasy about interstellar travel, and so we have Velcro. If we ever accomplish interstellar travel, that might be the greatest accomplishment any creature ever did. It is the kind of feat that allows survival of the species beyond the life span of a star. I can understand that the pursuit of this theorem resulted in the development of some different ways to use mathematics. I can not understand what we would have if somebody correctly announced, "Here is a sum of two cubes which amounts to the cube of another number."

Is interstellar travel as fantastic as Fermat's Last Theorem? Perhaps the only value of them is that they are unobtainable targets which conveniently cause other developments.

And, yes, I have long ago resolved that there are much simpler questions for which I will never have an answer.

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,890
I can understand that there is a tantalizing fantasy about interstellar travel, and so we have Velcro.
It's called baby steps... I also do not fully understand the implications of deeply abstract mathematical discoveries, and of course don't lose a minute of sleep over it either. But it's interesting to see that sometimes knowledge is gained before anyone has figured out a practical use for it. Such was the way of topology and its later influence on quantum mechanics, for instance.

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,890

#### tcmtech

Joined Nov 4, 2013
2,867
What I got from that movie is that the guy was out of touch with reality and given way too much credit for basically being a delusional idiot that severely needed help for mental disorders.

The thing is I see way too much of that sort of mathematics being given credit for being about as useful as my wife's astrology charts and beliefs are. If you believe it works then you find reasons to support your beliefs and ignore the times they are wrong even if they are wrong way more often than they are ever right.

Sure those mathematicians can make an exact predictive model of whatever happened after it happened, the idiot and his scribbling on the window about the pigeons moving around is a good example from the movie, but as for using those formulas they come up with in real life applications they tend to be for the most part basically useless.

Just look at how many of those goofs try and use that type of mathematics to beat Las Vegas casinos. They start out sort of ahead but everyone eventually gets their butt handed to them in the end by reality. Or those that try to predict the future events like the stock markets, weather, climate, and so on with it only to come out way way wrong every time.

#### atferrari

Joined Jan 6, 2004
3,923
I can understand that there is a tantalizing fantasy about interstellar travel, and so we have Velcro.
I am at lost here, #12.

#### tracecom

Joined Apr 16, 2010
3,944
Velcro was spawned by space travel, I think.

I have more uses for Velcro than for moon rocks.

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,890
Velcro was spawned by space travel, I think.

I have more uses for Velcro than for moon rocks.
You just have to watch 2001 by Stanley Kubrick

#### #12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,210
I am at lost here, #12.
Velcro is merely shorthand for hundreds of useful spin offs we have in our daily lives as a side effect of the space missions.

#### GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
Velcro is merely shorthand for hundreds of useful spin offs we have in our daily lives as a side effect of the space missions.
... and Tang!

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,890
... and Tang!
And anti-lock brakes... and a meal in a tube of toothpaste

Last edited:

#### tcmtech

Joined Nov 4, 2013
2,867
And anti-lock brakes...
They need anti-lock brakes in space?

I was not aware there were skidding issues when moving through the vacuum of space and if so what exactly are they skidding against anyways?

#12

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,890
They need anti-lock brakes in space?

I was not aware there were skidding issues when moving through the vacuum of space and if so what exactly are they skidding against anyways?
Anti lock brakes were developed for aircraft... which in turn were developed to fly rocket parts from California to Cape Canaveral

#12

#### #12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,210
Oh, I was thinking anti-lock brakes on the moon rover. Wouldn't want to cause a political incident by rear-ending a moon citizen.

#### tcmtech

Joined Nov 4, 2013
2,867
Anti lock brakes were developed for aircraft... which in turn were developed to fly rocket parts from California to Cape Canaveral
So they do what in the air now?

Having been developed for craft that work in near frictionless environments is that why they don't work so well on the ground with machines that actually need to stop in a specific distance before crashing into something?

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