Message from the President:
Zeal. That’s always been a word that intrigued me. One of those words you hear as a child, but don’t really understand until much later. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “Great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.” One of the 12 Powers, Unity defines it as “The ability to be enthusiastic, be passionate, start, motivate.”
My latest read is Fermat’s Enigma by Simon Singh. Inspired by an episode of PBS’s “Nova”, I purchased the book and couldn’t put it down. In 1637, while reading a copy of Diophantus’ Arithmetica, the definitive work on mathematics at the time, Pierre de Fermat came upon the famous Pythagorean formula that we all learned in high school geometry, an +bn=cn (the sum of the squares of the sides is equal to the square of the hypotenuse for all right triangles). Fermet scribbled a note stating that no three numbers a, b, and c satisfy that equation for any integer value of n greater than 2, and also stated that he had a proof but it was too large to fit in the margin. Thus began a 358 year quest to find the mathematical proof to what became known as “Fermat’s Last Theorem.” Prior to its proof, it was in the Guiness Book of World Records as the “most difficult mathematical problem”, one of the reasons being that it has the largest number of unsuccessful proofs.
In 1963, 10 year old Andrew Wiles, the son of a Chaplain at Cambridge, came across Fermat’s Last Theorem on his way home from school when he stopped at his local library where he found a book about the theorem. Fascinated, he decided to be the first person to prove it. However, he soon realized that his knowledge was too limited, so he abandoned his childhood dream, until it was brought back to his attention at the age of 33 by his discovery of an attempted proof of the Theorem. Zeal found itself another taker! While completing his studies, raising a family, and holding a position at Princeton, Wiles worked on proving the theorem. As with any great discovery, Wiles relied on the help of others and finally, in June 1993, he presented his proof to the public for the first time at a conference in Cambridge. After review, it was discovered that there was a flaw in one area of his proof. Rather than giving up, he published a second paper which circumvented the problem and thus completed the proof. Both papers were published in May 1995.
Of course I am leaving out the grueling technical details of how Wiles came up with his proof, but the message here is that we all have been given this amazing power of Zeal which we can apply to our daily lives, no matter what we are doing. We owe it to ourselves to follow this drive wherever it leads us, and who knows, we can change the world.
On another note, our participation in the voting process is crucial to the survival of our democracy. Several states are making it hard for eligible people to participate in the voting process. If an eligible person is denied access to voting, The Help America Vote Act of 2002 guarantees that in most states, the voter can cast a provisional ballot if the voter states that he or she is entitled to vote. Please share that information with everyone you know who may be affected.
Finally, I’d to inspire the Zeal within you and consider stepping up as a Board member. Our candidate search for 2019 has begun. Contact any Board member if you wish to apply. Detailed requirements to become a BOT member will be provided shortly. And all of our members are reminded that our annual membership renewal is in process! I am also very excited about our upcoming Alan Wasserman and Friends Concert on November 10 and hope you will be able to attend to experience this wonderful program.
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