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The Margin of This Post Is Too Small to Contain a Gladwell Mystery

Filed under: The Squib Report   Tagged: , , , , ,

I’m making my way through the highly alluring videos from the inaugural New Yorker Conference a couple of weeks ago. In his lecture on “Genius: 2012,” Malcolm Gladwell discusses Fermat’s Last Theorem, which (according to Wikipedia) states that
if an integer n is greater than 2, then the equation an bn = cn has no solutions in non-zero integers a, b, and c.
After realizing this, Fermat famously wrote, “I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which this margin is too small to contain.” Which Gladwell explains, more or less, and then says this:
It leads to one of the greatest, ah, graffiti in the history of the New York subway system. I think it’s still there, on Washington Square. Someone has scribbled Fermat’s Theorem on the wall, and then below it they say, “I have the solution, but my train is coming.”
Question: Anyone seen this graffito? Where is it exactly?

Later on, Gladwell talks about the “10,000 hours rule” (fascinating!), which he identifies as a signal finding of the “expertise literature.”

My new favorite term is “expertise literature.”

—Martin Schneider


You may like to ask Google about
“fermat’s last theorem short proof”

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2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree