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From: Fred Bloggs
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.7 [en]C-CCK-MCD EBM-Compaq1 (Win95; U)
Subject: Re: Alan Blumlein site
References: <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org> <6RWg9.101$Fc5.email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 14:38:47 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 07:38:47 PDT
Organization: EarthLink Inc. -- http://www.EarthLink.net
Kevin Aylward wrote:
> For example, arguable the dude that solved Fermats last theorem is a genius.
> 1000's of people for over 300 years all tried, and failed. This guy
> showed a *rare* and great ability that *no* one else, in the *same*
> circumstances, could achieve.
Maybe you should read up on that because your perspective could not be
more wrong. It was a group effort and the original proof was in error
and later corrected. This proof is an example of mathematical structure
evolving to the point where the original problem is made equivalent to a
second problem which can be solved, and in this case it concerned
semistable elliptic curves with rational coefficients, modular
functions, and deriving a contradiction from an assumed solution to
Fermat's equation for n>2. There was no direct number theoretic proof as
you would expect using the known mathematics from Fermat's era- which
you seem to imply. If anything this particular triumph is a humbling
example of the limitations of exceptionally true genius compared to the
advantages of time, the methodical construction of complex theory, and
the cooperation of talented contributors. As you might expect, this type
of thing is more the rule these days due to the fact that discoveries on
the edge are ever more a strong function of the pertinent cumulative
knowledge. The days of the geniuses contributing a major discontinuous
leap in the progression of mankind's understanding of whatever are for
practical purposes over.
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