Born: August 17, 1601 in Beaumont-de-Lomagne, France

Died: January 12, 1665 in Castres, France


Pierre de Fermat was a seventeenth-century French mathematician who made important discoveries in number theory. He also worked on optics and the theory of probability. Fermat also made some contributions to calculus.

Pierre de Fermat's father was a wealthy leather merchant and the second consul of his hometown, Beaumont-de-Lomagne. Pierre began his education at the Franciscan convent of the Cordeliers in Beaumont. He then went to study with the Jesuits. After attending the University of Toulouse, he moved to Bordeau. Fermat used Francois Viete's algebra to restore Apollonius of Perga's Plane loci. The restored work was renamed Method for determining Maxima and Minima and Tangents to Curved Lines.

Fermat also wrote an introduction to geometry called Introduction to Plane and Solid Loci. He moved to Orleans, where, the University of Orleans gave him the degree of Bachelor of Civil Laws in 1631. Fermat's best work was in number theory and analytic geometry. He was interested in prime numbers. His most famous work is his theorem called Fermat's Last Theorem. He worked with Blaise Pascal on the theory of probability. The curves that Fermat worked on were the:

Cissoid of Diocles


Fermat's spiral

Witch of Agnesi