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# who was pierre de fermat and how did he help start the study of probability?

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- JosephineLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
Pierre de Fermat is one of the top ten greatest mathematicians in history. Alongside Blaise Pascal, he established the foundations of probability theory, which is the mathematics of gambling, risk and change. Also, when Newton was asked where he got the idea of calculus from, he credited “Monsieur Fermat’s method of drawing tangents”. Already it is clear that Fermat has changed the world we live in, because everybody from insurance companies to stock markets use probability theory and everybody from architects to NASA use calculus.

But Fermat’s greatest ideas are in the area of number theory, a subject which has virtually no practical applications. Number theory is the purest form of mathematics, concerned with the study of whole numbers, the relationships between them, and the patterns they form.

http://www.simonsingh.net/Pierre_de_Fermat.html

Fermat. Pierre de Fermat, who was born near Montauban in 1601, and died at Castres on January 12, 1665, was the son of a leather-merchant; he was educated at home; in 1631 he obtained the post of councillor for the local parliament at Toulouse, and he discharged the duties of the office with scrupulous accuracy and fidelity. There, devoting most of his leisure to mathematics, he spent the remainder of his life - a life which, but for a somewhat acrimonious dispute with Descartes on the validity of certain analysis used by the latter, was unruffled by any event which calls for special notice. The dispute was chiefly due to the obscurity of Descartes, but the tact and courtesy of Fermat brought it to a friendly conclusion. Fermat was a good scholar, and amused himself by conjecturally restoring the work of Apollonius on plane loci.

http://www.maths.tcd.ie/pub/HistMath/People/Fermat...

Fermat is best remembered for this work in number theory, in particular for Fermat's Last Theorem. This theorem states that

xn + yn = zn

has no non-zero integer solutions for x, y and z when n > 2. Fermat wrote, in the margin of Bachet's translation of Diophantus's Arithmetica

I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which this margin is too small to contain.

These marginal notes only became known after Fermat's son Samuel published an edition of Bachet's translation of Diophantus's Arithmetica with his father's notes in 1670

http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographie...

The theory of numbers appears to have been the favourite study of Fermat. He prepared an edition of Diophantus, and the notes and comments thereon contain numerous theorems of considerable elegance. Most of the proofs of Fermat are lost, and it is possible that some of them were not rigorous - an induction by analogy and the intuition of genius sufficing to lead him to correct results. The following examples will illustrate these investigations.

- Anonymous5 years ago
Pascal Swirl Pascal?