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Pierre de Fermat was a French lawyer at the Parlement of Toulouse, France, and a mathematician who is given credit for early developments that led to modern calculus. In particular, he is recognised for his discovery of an original method of finding the greatest and the smallest ordinates of curved lines, which is analogous to that of the then unknown differential calculus, as well as his research into the theory of numbers. He also made notable contributions to analytic geometry and probability. With his gift for number relations (perhaps the most outstanding since Diophantus) and his ability to find proofs for his theorems, Fermat essentially created the modern theory of numbers. The quality of his work can be gauged by the fact that many of his results were not proved for over a century after his death, and one of them, his Last Theorem, took more than three centuries to prove. It was the convention among mathematicians in his day to challenge each other, often not publishing them to retain an advantage in the competition....



Pierre de Fermat was a French lawyer at the Parlement of Toulouse, France, and a mathematician who is given credit for early developments that led to modern calculus. In particular, he is recognised for his discovery of an original method of finding the greatest and the smallest ordinates of curved lines, which is analogous to that of the then unknown differential calculus, as well as his research into the theory of numbers. He also made notable contributions to analytic geometry and probability. With his gift for number relations (perhaps the most outstanding since Diophantus) and his ability to find proofs for his theorems, Fermat essentially created the modern theory of numbers. The quality of his work can be gauged by the fact that many of his results were not proved for over a century after his death, and one of them, his Last Theorem, took more than three centuries to prove. It was the convention among mathematicians in his day to challenge each other, often not publishing them to retain an advantage in the competition....
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