Saturday, March 19, 2005

A Tale of Two Dreams...

I've had some weird dreams in my life, but two that I've had this past week deserve a special mention...

The first (and in my opinion, less weird) dream was related to Fermat's Last Theorem (FLT). For the ignorant among you, Fermat was a 17th century amateur mathematician who had written, in the margin of a book he was studying, the following statement -

There exist no non-trivial whole number solutions in 'x', 'y' and 'z' for the equation (x^n) + (y^n) = (z^n), for n > 2.

This is Fermat's Last Theorem. Here, non-trivial means one of the numbers cannot be 0. If n = 2, we have the Pythogoras Theorem, with infinite whole number solutions. Fermat's bold statement claims that for all other n greater than 2, the number of whole number solutions drop from infinite to zero!
The proposition was followed by the following (arguably even bolder) statement -

For the above theorem, I have a truly wonderful proof, which this margin is too small to contain.

The fame that this theorem has now accrued owes its existence to this very statement. For, in the 350 years that have followed the discovery of Fermat's proposition in the margin of the book, numerous top mathematicians have tried to conjure up a valid proof for it. None have succeeded. Neither has anyone been able to supply a counter-example to disprove the theorem. Many proofs have come close, but only to have some flaw ultimately discovered in them.

The latest note-worthy proof attempt, was submitted by Andrew Wiles in 1993, and two years later a modified version by Wiles and Richard Taylor in 1995. Although, some believe this proof to be valid, its gargantuan nature and the highly complex math that it involves means that it would be sometime before we can be sure. Thus, as far as I am concernced, FLT is still unconquered.

Anyways, to get to my dream. I dreamt that I had somehow managed to prove FLT. And not just prove it, but do so with an exceedingly simple argument that required no more than a page to pen down (Wiles' consisted of more than 100 pages!). This proof of mine brought with it instant fame and recognition, albeit only amongst the geeky/nerdy population that evince any interest in stuff of an academic nature.

The second dream of mine was of a rather apocalyptic nature...

I dreamt that I was the second coming of Christ! Yeah, hard to swallow I know. In fact a few hundred years ago just mentioning a dream like this would mean running the risk of a premature fiery death with a wooden stake for company!
I am not Catholic (or even Christian) but then neither was Jesus! He was a Jew!

Anyways, in my dream I keep my secret until I'm 30 when I let it out to the world. This angers a lot of people, and I too am crucified at 33. For those 3 years though, I go around preaching that the end of the world is near, and everyone would face Judgement soon. I'm mocked by most, but some people do believe and follow me. Somehow, in some strange way, the mocking and resistance that I encounter doesn't seem to bother me at all.
As soon as I'm crucified, my prophecy starts to come about. There's instant darkness throughout the world, followed by a bright flash of light. Everyone starts to see horrible visions of what lies ahead for them. People are running about and screaming in terror. Within a few hours, everyone is dead and civilization as we know it comes to an end.

I'm not sure what brought about this dream, but I assume that the Da Vinci code and some of the studying of the Bible that I have been doing recently did the trick.

No comments: