Diophantus of Alexandria (dates unknown, lived and died between 200AD and 300AD) was an Alexandrian mathematician
He wrote a series
of books (many now lost) called Arithmetic
a that deal with solving algebraic equation
Pierre de Fermat
a and it was in the margin in his copy that he made the fateful
note in 1637 that a certain equation
similar to the Pythagorean equation
considered by Diophantus has no solutions,
and he found "a truly marvelous proof
of this proposition", the celebrated Fermat's Last Theorem
. This led to
tremendous advances in number
theory, and the study of diophantine equation
s ("diophantine geometry
") and of
diophantine approximations remain important areas of mathematical research. Diophantus was the first Greek mathematician
who recognized fractions as number
s; thus he allowed positive rational number
s for the coefficients and solutions.
In modern use, diophantine equations are usually algebraic equations with integer coefficients, for which integer
solutions are sought.
One of the Famous People
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