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Fermat Quiz: The Answers

So … how well did you do?

1. In the TV documentary, which American band featured on the soundtrack?
b) Blondie.
This is one of the few American bands that could be easily cleared for use on the BBC. The track “One Way or Another” appears as the documentary location moves from Europe to America.

2. Descartes declared that Pierre de Fermat…
a) was a braggart.

3. Fermat discovered that the numbers 17,296 and 18,416 are
a) amicable.
You can find out more at Ask Dr. Math.

4. Which company asked Andrew Wiles to endorse a new range of menswear after he had proved Fermat’s Last Theorem?
a) Gap.
Or at least this is what I heard. If indeed they did ask Professor Wiles to promote their clothes, then he declined.

5. When I was short-listed for a science book prize, I was awarded a prize which had mistakenly engraved upon it…
c) Fermat’s Latest Theorem.
I think that this was a hint that they were expecting a sequel. Fortunately, they were kind enough to make another award with the correct title, so I am in the unique position of having two Rhone-Poulenc awards in one year.

6. Which of these is a song from the musical Fermat’s Last Tango?
c) Math widow.

7. When asked why he had not attempted a proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, who said: “Before beginning I should put in three years of intensive study, and I haven’t that much time to squander on a probable failure.” ?
a) David Hilbert.

8. Which member of Queen bought a copy of Fermat’s Last Theorem at Waterstones on Kensington High Street (…according to the shop assistant who made my day when she told me)?
b) Brian May, who is well known for his interest in science, mathematics and particularly astronomy.

9. When the BBC documentary about Fermat’s Last Theorem won a BAFTA, one of the nominated documentaries in the same category was about a rock star. Who?
c) Elton John – Tantrums and Tiaras was the title of the documentary.

10. When Fermat’s Last Theorem was eventually proved, who said “I told you so”?
b) Goro Shimura