A Famous Proposition

Today’s Poetic Asides prompt was to write a confined spaces poem. I just couldn’t resist penning a limerick about Fermat’s Last Theorem, mathematician that I am.  In 1637, Fermat postulated  that, “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. I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition that this margin is too narrow to contain.”  This became known as Fermat’s Last Theorem, and it remained unproven until 1995.


Fermat’s Last Theorem

There once was a mathematician
Who conjectured a famous proposition
But the margin was too thin
To contain his weighty thoughts within
So his proof never came to fruition

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4 thoughts on “A Famous Proposition

  1. Hi Cara, I saw this poem on PA. How much of a math major are you? I got as far as a B.S. How fun to use it in our writing! It’s funny because earlier today I wrote a poem about calculus! (still needs editing, though.) Then I saw yours and was delighted. Did you ever study the math of Fermat’s last? Diophantine equations? I didn’t. Well, it’s nice to “meet” you!

    • I was hoping there were other math majors out there who might get a chuckle out of this. 🙂 I got a BS in math, and then switched to computer engineering, but have been out of both fields for quite some time now. But when I saw this prompt, Fermat’s margin was the first thing that came to mind. I studied lots of number theory, but sadly remember ittle of it now. What I remember better is reading “Men of Mathematics” by Bell– quite the stories. Is your poem posted anywhere?

      • How funny! I don’t remember too awful much math now either. What diverted you from those fields? I lost interest, and had kids too. I’m getting ready to post my calculus poem on PA for the lune challenge. Thanks for responding to my comment!

      • It was kids that diverted me as well. I left a PhD program over 20 years ago to stay home and take care of my kids, and then got involved in volunteering and never went back. In fact, I just had a story about it featured in the recently released Women Reinvented anthology.

        I’ll look for your calculus poem– I also entered the lune challenge.

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