Google Celebrates Pierre de Fermat’s 410th Birthday

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Google Celebrates Pierre de Fermat’s 410th Birthday

Google’s doodles, the re-imaginings of the Google logo, have became a famed part of how the world’s biggest search site operates. Google is continuing to expand its list of tributes today with a celebration of Pierre de Fermat.

The Unproven Doodle

The doodle gives just the G and then a representation of Fermat’s last theorem. Unlike most doodles of the past, Google has decided to add hover text to the Fermat tribute. When users hover over the post, they get a message reading, “I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this theorem, which this doodle is too small to contain.”

The line is a reference to how Fermat’s final theorem was presented. Famously, Fermat wrote the equation (which tells us that it’s impossible for an + bn to equal  cif n is anything greater than 2) in the margin of Arithmetica, a Greek text on math. Fermat wrote that he had found a proof for this theorem, but that the margin wasn’t big enough for him to write it.

Fermat wasn’t a big fan of showing his work, and several of his most important theorems were given proof by others. This caused some major issues in the case of his last theorem. For centuries, other mathematicians tried to prove the margin-scrawled theory, but no one succeeded until 1995.

While the powerful geek culture of Google may be much of the reason for the ode to Fermat, Google has other reasons to be grateful for Fermat’s work: His contributions laid the groundwork for encryption and web security.

[Sources include: Google & An Introduction to Number Theory]

Rob D Young
Rob has been insatiably obsessed with Google, search engine technology, and the trends of the web-based world since he began life as a webmaster in... Read Full Bio
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