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Fermat’s Last Tango: Lively Musical For Nerds

The ghost of Fermat and other giants from the Aftermath Club help (frustrate?) a mathematician’s effort to prove Fermat’s famous Last Theorem

If you are a nerd, the musical Fermat’s Last Tango (2001) is hilarious. Mathematician Pierre de Fermat proposed his last theorem around 1637. He wrote a note in the margin of a copy of Arithmetica, a book written by a 3rd-century Alexandrian mathematician, Diophantus. Fermat’s short scribble claimed that he could prove that a specific Diophantine equation had no solution. But whatever Fermat was thinking died with him in 1665. A proof of Fermat’s last theorem eluded mathematicians over 300 years until Princeton’s Andrew Wiles proved it in 1995. Fermat’s Last Tango is a fantasy account of Wiles’s life while he was working on the proof. The play is a musical sprinkled with nerdy inside jokes. For example, part of…

Silhouette of a man, with thoughts in the form of physico-mathematical formulas. The concept of scientific and education topics.

The Chaitin Interview III: The Changing Landscape for Mathematics

How are the fields of mathematics and academic research different today compared to years past? In this week’s podcast, Robert J. Marks and Gregory Chaitin discuss the challenges many mathematicians face today and the unfortunate trend toward bureaucracy that makes academic research difficult. Dropping names of mathematical geniuses past and present, they explore how technology and artificial intelligence are changing…

Spiral Background.

Hard Math Can Be Entertaining — With the Right Musical Score!

Gregory Chaitin discusses with Robert J. Marks the fun side of solving hard math problems, some of which come with million-dollar prizes

In last week’s podcast,, “The Chaitin Interview II: Defining Randomness,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed mathematician and computer scientist Gregory Chaitin on his method of describing true randomness:. If no theory is simpler than the data you are trying to explain, then the data is random. They also discussed the work of true randomness but also on how Ray Solomonoff (1926–2009), another algorithmic information theory founder, who pursued the “shortest effective string of information that describes an object.” But now, for a lighter touch, we learn that a musical comedy was made of Fermat’s Last Theorem. https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-125-Gregory-Chaitin.mp3 This portion begins at 19:24 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: If you…

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The Chaitin Interview II: Defining Randomness

In the 1960s, mathematician and computer scientist Gregory Chaitin published a landmark paper in the field of algorithmic information theory in the Journal of the ACM – and he was only a teenager. Listen in as Robert J. Marks explores that paper with Chaitin, covering Chaitin’s definition of randomness and his philosophical interest in algorithmic information theory. Show Notes 00:27…