# Hurt me, Fermat, HURT ME!!

Created | Updated Jun 20, 2003

**Okay. So, being the knowledge-seeker all wonderfully 'human' humans are, I was watching Nova.
By the time I discovered it was about modular functions and other really weird stuff
(something incredibly above my 'typical humanities with acceptable scientific knowledge,
though struggling in Calc II' mind ), I was too immersed in it to change the channel out of
the fear which usually accompanies such floods of incomprehension. Thus a nightmare, and my
own mathematics-related conjecture was born. This is how it happened, and what I'm doing to
keep London safe.**

*'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times'*...

and things were

becoming*'curiouser and curiouser'*

in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy, as Odysseus began his journey to Never-Never Land... wait, no. Okay. Nova. The episode was on **Andrew Wiles**; the guy who, after 300 or so years, proved *'Fermat's Last Theorem'*:

X^n + Y^n does not equal Z^n , if n > 2.

Okay, simple stuff. A bright ten-year-old can understand that statement, so it shouldn't be that hard to prove it. But, before long, there were pictures of graphical DOUGHNUTS (is that *weird?*) or should I say the

graphical representations of things called elliptical curves. Then they

started with really pretty visual representations of modular functions,

which are defined as*'a bunch of maths jargon that I need not know for
ANYTHING unless I choose to Ph.D. in Maths Jargon'*

being scattered across the

screen. Their only redeeming quality was the fact that they were drawn in

nice shades of purple and blue, and I wouldn't mind having them hanging on

my wall. Suddenly they were talking about conjectures, etc. etc. The Wiles

guy had his poor grad students doing maths for his 'secret' work (so they

didn't know why they were doing it, the poor things, but that's what they

get for going into maths!), INSANE stuff! Why? Oh, the HUMANITY!!!

All to prove this theory, which would probably have no impact on the rest of

the mathematical world anyway, other than being pretty damn cool. But it gave

him something to do and get paid for. So Wiles locked himself up for seven

years working on this problem and, finally, he had an answer which he then

presented, in all its glory, at a special function at Cambridge. The world

rejoiced! Wiles featured on magazines! Look at that intriguing red hair!

The proof was wrong. And who found that out? His friend who had helped him,

who was one of the only people to know in the first place. The ****!

So, on one of those oh so-touching Nova interview sessions, Wiles started

crying. This is what led me to my own, equally, if not more implicative, theory:

All people who submit themselves to torture and/or likewise submit others to

torture for pleasure, are sado-masochists.

Professional mathematicians submit themselves to torture and (if they are

*****'s, like Wiles' friend) submit others to torture, quite obviously for

pleasure.

Therefore;

All mathematicians are sado-masochists.

(Props to my homeboy Aristotle for the format.)

In a purely mathematical sense, you see.

I'm sure that even we who aren't passionate about maths, although submit

ourselves to taking classes or otherwise educating ourselves in it's evil methods,

have got a bit of this! For example, as I watched this maths programme, I felt

a sort of... interest. Awful, I know! Obviously not the natural reaction one would

expect from me concerning maths. Furthermore, when Wiles said they'd found a

problem with the proof, I was... well, in a sick way... elated. I'm sorry. Not that

there's anything wrong with that, as long as everything's consensual. Just don't make

ME study it.

I'm sorry you had to know this about your mayor.

What was funniest of all was the problem itself... Fermat, the guy who

presented it, scribbled it into the corner of his copy of one of Euclid's

books (I don't remember the name. Sorry.) along with the statement:*'I've got the proof, but it doesn't fit in this margin'*.

Smart****!. I'll bet he was

lying. After all, he was *French*!

Anyhow, the relevance of all this to London: Higher-level Maths.

It's right under Physics on the Evil Scale. As I haven't a mathematician

*'Beater-Upper'*, I have decided to simply make it easy on everyone: no maths will be conducted inside the city limits unless it is done directly

with one of the functions found in the 'catalogue' section of a TI - 91 calculator.

There. Simple. You can still do sine and stuff, and even linear regressions.

That's all anyone really needs, anyhow. Got a problem?. :-)

Oh yeah, and I'm sorry about all this academia-related rambling. It's

finals week, y'know. I can't handle it. Is anybody looking for a seat in the

cabinet? As the *'Mayor's Surrogate Test-Taker'*, perhaps?

(Next Week: Outside food in cinemas: it's about time London gets to eat

actual food while watching movies.)

And, as always: **The Virtual Mayor of London** is a young female

from Southern California, like that place the *Mamma's and Pappa's* an'

*Al Jolson* used to sing about. It is recommended you do not take anything

she says into serious consideration, she has no idea what she's talking about.

(*I'll second that emotion! Ed.*)

*The Virtual Mayor of London Election Archive*