The Margin Is Not...
In email correspondence, or in forum postings I sometimes take a shortcut and say "the margin is not big enough to contain..." (when I don't have time to explain something, or it's too elementary or complex for me to deal with in that communication.) I knew this snippet was from a math proof of some kind, but as math was not one of my stronger points in high school I wasn't able to recall the exact reference this quote makes.
However, google to the rescue. Today I finally found it on the web: it's a reference to Fermat's Last Theorem where Fermat mentions that he has a "truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition (his theorem) that this margin is too narrow to contain."
In high school I had study hall in with the Calculus (I) class (which, contained 3 or 4 of the students in my class, along with 3 or 4 students in the grade above.) One day they were watching a video on Fermat's Theorem, so (instead of doing my work), I watched as well. The video was on the search for the solution proving the theorem correct (or disproving it, as the case might be.) In 1995 this theorem was proving using modern techniques ( techniques that didn't exist in Fermat's time. I remember only fancy computer graphs and something about 3D space (and obviously they didn't have fancy computer graphs back then.) ) The question remains: did Fermat have a viable solution to his theorem, or was the puzzle forever unsolved (by him), until we did it with modern mathematics here in the 20th century?
Wow. A little math, a little history, and a little Latin in that post. I feel the scholar.