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Monday, May 09, 2005

Fermat's Last Theorem False

Mr. Escultura, a UP Math prof, says the proof of Fermat's last theorem is false. A bit too geeky even for my taste, as I am no fan of Mathematics. But it's quite possibly earth-shaking. And don't you just love it when something like that comes from your own backyard? (For me that's quite literal, even.)
He took the position that the failure to resolve the problem for over 360 years reveals the inadequacy and defects of foundations, number theory and the real number system. He undertook a thorough critique-rectification of these fields and found, among others, that the real number system in basic algebra, the foundation of mathematics, is defective. Specifically, two of its axioms (the trichotomy and completeness axioms, for those who took basic algebra in high school and college) are false.
Now just what do you do when you learn that the trichotomy axiom is false? Jump up, stand on your chair, and silence your algebra teacher with the fact that what we have held true for so long holds no ground anymore? ("And to back that up, I have links you can check out at my website! Mike Abundo dot Blogspot dot com!" --Sorry. I can't get enough of that.)

I guess I am too amused that Math is not as pure and unbreakable as we all have deemed it to be.

Times have changed. It's a lot like how blogging has treated the news, or any other knowledge being passed around: no matter how age-old or seemingly authoritative, it will always be subject to correction when it needs to be corrected. It is the task of the blogosphere to verify what gets around, and correct any errors that appear.

Hopefully it won't take as long as 360 years before we get the truths we need.

4 Comment/s:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Escultura is not anymore connected with the UP Diliman Math Department. He is a (former?) Manila Times columnist and math teacher at The Manila Times School of Journalism. UP should sue him for misrepresentation.

5/10/2005 6:41 AM  
Blogger juned said...

Maybe Fermat's last theorem was a prank he played on his colleagues. If so it has got to be the longest joke of history. But not as far reaching the Donation of Constantine hoax :)

5/10/2005 2:51 PM  
Blogger ia said...

to anonymous: i only quoted the manila times article. *they* were the ones who said he is *still* a up prof. even if they did mention at the very bottom of the article where he's currently working.

5/10/2005 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Err, please read PCIJ

5/22/2005 4:59 PM  

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