Afaceinthematrix

I always hear stories about how Einstein stole relativity, this scientist stole that for some other scientist, etc. It sort of gets annoying to hear because I don't really care; we still have the knowledge and that is what is the most importantly. But I figured I might as well start this topic and see who everyone feels is the most academically dishonest academic of all time.

As for me, I'm going to go with Fermat. There's probably worse than him him but I don't know of many so I'll just go with him. Basically, in the 1600's, he came up with "Fermat's Last Theorem" although it was more of a conjuncture at the time because he never proved it! What the dishonest part is was that he claimed to have a "simple and elegant" proof but he never wrote it down! If you have a simple and elegant proof, then why wouldn't you write it down? Meanwhile, scientists for the next almost four-hundred years were completely baffled by this theorem. My opinion is that if mathematicians who were a million times better than him (Cauchy, Euler, Cantor, etc.) couldn't prove it, then I highly doubt Fermat could prove it. In fact, the theorem stayed unproved until Andrew Wiles finally did it in 1996. However, his 100 page long proof used topology, differential geometry, and other branches of math that were not available to Fermat and so Fermat could not have done that proof. Wile's proof was hardly "simple and elegant." The general consensus today is that there is no elementary proof (that is, proof without using advanced maths) for the theorem. So Fermat basically conjunctured something he could not prove, lied about proving it, and then caused hundreds or thousands of mathematicians to spend their entire careers trying to prove what he couldn't... What does everyone else think?

As for me, I'm going to go with Fermat. There's probably worse than him him but I don't know of many so I'll just go with him. Basically, in the 1600's, he came up with "Fermat's Last Theorem" although it was more of a conjuncture at the time because he never proved it! What the dishonest part is was that he claimed to have a "simple and elegant" proof but he never wrote it down! If you have a simple and elegant proof, then why wouldn't you write it down? Meanwhile, scientists for the next almost four-hundred years were completely baffled by this theorem. My opinion is that if mathematicians who were a million times better than him (Cauchy, Euler, Cantor, etc.) couldn't prove it, then I highly doubt Fermat could prove it. In fact, the theorem stayed unproved until Andrew Wiles finally did it in 1996. However, his 100 page long proof used topology, differential geometry, and other branches of math that were not available to Fermat and so Fermat could not have done that proof. Wile's proof was hardly "simple and elegant." The general consensus today is that there is no elementary proof (that is, proof without using advanced maths) for the theorem. So Fermat basically conjunctured something he could not prove, lied about proving it, and then caused hundreds or thousands of mathematicians to spend their entire careers trying to prove what he couldn't... What does everyone else think?