Google on August 17 celebrated the 410th birthday of Pierre De Fermat with a clever doodle in place of the search engine’s homepage logo.
Born in 1601, Fermat was a lawyer by trade and an amateur mathematician. Nevertheless, he is most famous for his so-called “Fermat’s Last Theorem,” which remained unproved for over 350 years and, according to Geek.com, earned a Guinness World Record as the most difficult mathematics problem to solve.
Fermat framed his theorem thus, according to CNET:
It is impossible for a cube to be the sum of two cubes, a fourth power to be the sum of two fourth powers, or in general for any number that is a power greater than the second to be the sum of two like powers.
Fermat famously scribbled about his theorem in the margin of Greek mathematician Diophantus’s Arithmetica, along with the words, “I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this, which this margin is too narrow to contain.”
But it wasn’t until 1995 that anyone was able to prove the theorem. This honor goes to Oxford Professor Andrew Wiles, whose voluminous paper detailing his research is “certainly too long for a margin,” as the Telegraph points out.