Then when I reached college I realized that many people had thought about the problem during the 18th and 19th centuries and so I studied those methods.
I had this rare privilege of being able to pursue in my adult life, what had been my childhood dream.
I know it's a rare privilege, but if one can really tackle something in adult life that means that much to you, then it's more rewarding than anything I can imagine.
It's fine to work on any problem, so long as it generates interesting mathematics along the way - even if you don't solve it at the end of the day.
I was so obsessed by this problem that I was thinking about it all the time - when I woke up in the morning, when I went to sleep at night - and that went on for eight years.
There's also a sense of freedom. I was so obsessed by this problem that I was thinking about if all the time - when I woke up in the morning, when I went to sleep at night, and that went on for eight years.
I loved doing problems in school. I'd take them home and make up new ones of my own.
But the best problem I ever found, I found in my local public library.
I grew up in Cambridge in England, and my love of mathematics dates from those early childhood days.
Pure mathematicians just love to try unsolved problems - they love a challenge.
That particular odyssey is now over. My mind is now at rest.
I really believed that I was on the right track, but that did not mean that I would necessarily reach my goal.
Perhaps the methods I needed to complete the proof would not be invented for a hundred years. So even if I was on the right track, I could be living in the wrong century.
It could be that the methods needed to take the next step may simply be beyond present day mathematics. Perhaps the methods I needed to complete the proof would not be invented for a hundred years.
Fermat said he had a proof.