Re: The Fermat-Wiles Theorem

Mohsin Ahmed (
Fri, 18 Nov 1994 12:12:57 -0500

. Date: Fri, 18 Nov 1994 04:03:06 -0500 (EST)
. From: Lyle Burkhead <>
. Airplanes crash. Proofs don't. Last year I asked if anyone could
. give an example of a theorem which was published in a textbook
. or reputable journal, accepted by the mathematicians who read
. it and used by them in further work, and then found to be
. false. No one ever came up with such an example.

Accepted/published proofs can be wrong, for example:

Legendre published a series of proofs of Euclid's parallel postulate
in his twelve editions of his influential "Elements de Geometry" from
1794-1823. Some others to prove the same include Ptolemy and Wallis.

A proof of the four color theorem was published by A.B.Kempe in 1879
and accepted for eleven years until P.J.Heawood found a flaw in it.

- Mohsin.