the famous marginalia, the scrawled words that sparked the frenzied race to prove Fermat right or wrong:
It is impossible to separate a cube into two cubes, or a fourth power into two fourth powers, or in general, any power higher than the second into two like powers. I have discovered a truly marvellous proof of this, which this margin is too narrow to contain. Fermat
 deemed TOTAL BUNK! fermat’s last theorem was (largely) solved. duh! clearly I am no mathematician. things learned:
- it was solved using elliptic curves & modular forms and strange things like that
- by andrew wiles, who was actually in cambridge, and solved it by locking himself into his room for several years
- there is a fake pigeonhole in the cambridge mathematical center to which maths professors resolutely forward all the bunk submissions of mathematical proofs claiming to have squared the circle or time-travel etc that they get (presumably on a daily basis). this is hilarious.
grateful thanks to adam, kelly, victor, adrian & periklis for information 🙂