Presents partial results which could be obtained with exclusively elementary methods. The proofs are given in detail, with minimal prerequisites. An original feature are the ten interludes, devoted to important topics of elementary number theory, thus making the reading of this book self-contained. The Epilogue is a serious attempt to render accessible the strategy of the recent proof of Fermat's last theorem, a great mathematical feat.
From the reviews: MATHEMATICAL REVIEWS "The history of elementary approaches to Fermat is very rich indeed, and Ribenboim has arranged these approaches in a way that makes them accessible to interested readers without extensive mathematical backgrounds!both readable and fairly comprehensive. This book would likely be of great interest to an enthusiastic undergraduate with a basic knowledge of rings and fields. In addition to describing the history of one of the great problems in number theory, the book provides a gentle and well-motivated introduction to some important ideas in modern number theory!any reader who spends a few hours with this book is guaranteed to learn something new and interesting about Fermat's last theorem."
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