Fermat and His Method of Infinite Descent
Library Home || Full Table of Contents || Suggest a Link || Library Help
|Jamie Bailey, Brian Oberg|
|The basic method of the infinite descent is as follows: Assume one wants to prove no solution exists with a certain property. First, assume a positive integer, x, posseses such a property. Next, deduce that there exists some positive integer y < x which also has the same property. Repeat this argument an infinite number of times, thus infinitely descending through all integers. This contradicts the fact that there must be a smallest positive integer with this property. Therefore, no positive integer exists with the proposed property. Examples and a discussing proving that Fermat's assertion was false.|
|Math Topics:||Number Theory|
© 1994-2013 Drexel University. All rights reserved.
The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Drexel University School of Education.