Practical magic

In 1995 (I think) Andrew Wiles proved Fermat’s last theorem:

Wiles proved that it would never work for postive integers greater than 2

A great discovery, but does anyone know if it has any practical applications? Eg allow engineers to do stuff they couldn’t do before? Or similar?


Intetesting question. I’m not an engineer.

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Not that it matters, knowledge is beautiful for its own sake of course, I just wondered

Without defined values of a, b, and n, the equation is merely a formula and only informative as to the function.

Actually, that is the beauty of algebra. It describes mathematical functions in general terms without the restriction of defined values

We know that 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64,… is an exponential function
How that affects a steady growth rate of anything, is explained by Dr Albert Bartlett in his famous lecture on the “Exponential Function”

This is really important knowledge, and it is easy!

I can really recommend

Wow! Thanks will do!

Something that excited me in The Science in Science Fiction by Lanford et al (1982) was about proving mathematically that nothing can go faster than the speed of light.

If you change the equations to faster than light you end up with the square root of minus one. :heavy_check_mark:-1

Of course there’s no such number, so you find yourself doing maths with imaginary numbers!

I can’t help but like you. I am a retired engineer (electrical). I am very happy with my career choice. Why? Because as an engineer I worked with engineers. Imagine the beauty in today’s political environment of working in a “bubble” of the population that uses logic, math, reason, and civil discourse to solve problems. Now, I’m not saying that there weren’t the fair amount of oddball religious or disturbed individuals you are bound to encounter in life, but in this “bubble” they were “handled” pretty swiftly.

I met lifelong friends who I both respect and enjoy being with. I married one of them. Admittedly, this is a sort of silo or echo chamber bubble, but I believe the world needs this particular echo chamber to thrive in order to succeed in a future that will present a multitude of challenges. Thoughts and prayers are woefully inadequate.

You may have noticed that this forum is very small and could actually benefit from some short-term exponential growth with persons like you. As a retired engineer, I can also tell you that it is one thing to understand a topic like exponential growth. It quite another to appreciate it.

Whatever career path you choose, be prepared for change! When I graduated in the top 10% of my class, an understanding of differential and integral calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, Laplace and Fourier transforms was sufficient. A few years later, an entirely new branch of mathematics became the basis for much computer science - that branch is Discrete mathematics.

Change is common to any field, so an important part of any education is the ability to learn. To enjoy learning! Best of luck to you, friend.


I suppose in any chosen field you’re bound to be with like-minded people. I keep off religion and politics, fatal to any discussion of anything. At best it just goes round in circles.

My “philosophy of philosophy” comes from what 1 of my teachers said to me; ideas in any sphere which are totally rejected and discredited by society often (not always, but often) contain at least some home truths



I used to think like that.

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When I was on the Richard Dawkins Foundation website forums I managed to keep upsetting people about R&P, so they’re no-go areas for me now lol.

There’s alot more important things. 360 children are dying of starvation EVERY HOUR across the world and climate is changing

That’s what we have to focus on. That’s why we need to become a spacefaring species asap. When we’re terraforming and living on Mars and Venus, I think you’ll find problems on Earth will solve themselves


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You think that’s a reality?

Definitely. The future is greater than the past


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Great attitude. Best of luck with the hurdles. This old guy wishes you nothing but success.

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Cheerz, And I wish you nothing but success as well. And you’re not old. You’re as young as you feel🙂

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Kind of depressing that . Giving up on earth rather than fight to fix it and the lunacy of problems resolving themselves? Practical magic.? :joy:

Resolved In whose favour?

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Why think about terraforming starting from scratch on hostile planets, when we have a viable planet underfoot?

If terraforming is a distinct possibility , let’s begin with earth before we start terraforming hostile planets in space.

Let earth be the classroom!

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I am not sure that terraforming Mars and Venus is possible.

What i am sure is that space colonisation will not solve the problems of earth, as these problems don’t come from earth, but from man.

I hope you’re still here. As a scientist or engineer you will have no choice but to answer these questions the best you can.

Rasilon doesnt have to do anything

Coffee was not demanding anything of Rasilon. Read posts with a little charity. Most people aren’t to pick fights.

Thank you, @lausten
You’re absolutely right. My words clearly stated that an engineer/scientist cannot choose to ignore issues. If an engineer can’t make something work then (s)he will be unemployed. My posts very clearly stated kindness to @rasilon

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