Google Doodle honours lawyer and mathematician Fermat

17 Aug 2011

Internet search giant Google is tipping its hat to lawyer and mathematician Pierre de Fermat today, with a Google Doodle on its homepage resembling a chalkboard.

Today, 17 August, marks the 410th anniversary of the birth Fermat. The Google Doodle in his honour features a chalkboard with symbols, a mathematical equation and an erased Google logo.

In the Doodle, Google has a bit of fun with Fermat’s Last Theorem, which he proposed in 1637 by writing in his copy of Arithmetica by Diophantus. Fermat added in Latin that he had no room to write his discovered proof for the theorem, translated as, “I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition that this margin is too narrow to contain.”

When users move their cursor over the Google Doodle, the message “I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this theorem, which this doodle is too small to contain” appears.

Born in Beaumont-de-Lomagne, France, de Fermat lived until the age of 63. Throughout his life, he made contributions to optics, probability, number theory and analytic geometry, and is, of course, the brain behind Fermat’s principle and Fermat’s Last Theorem.

Fermat is recognised, in particular, for his discovery of an original method of finding the greatest and the smallest ordinates of curved lines, which is analogous to that of differential calculus.

Google publishes Doodles – stylised Google logos – on its homepage to commemorate holidays and events worldwide.