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That's Mathematics (1993)

Words by Tom Lehrer
Tune - "That's Entertainment

This was most likely written for the July 18, 1993, Fermat Fest, held in San Francisco and presented by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. The Fermat Fest was held to celebrate the fact that Andrew Wiles had proven the famous Fermat's Last Theorem that had gone unproven for centuries. Fermat had written in the margin of a notebook that he had come up with a neat little proof of the theorem, but did not have space to write it there. Since then, people many times have claimed to have proven the theorem, but have been proven wrong. It has been speculated that Fermat did not actually have a proof.

(The theorem states that for all integers n > 2, there exist no integers a, b, & c satisfying a^n + b^n = c^n, where ^ denotes exponentiation. Note that n = 2 produces the Pythagorean Theorem of right triangles. The rest of you can look it up when you get home.)

Counting sheep
When you're trying to sleep,
Being fair
When there's something to share,
Being neat
When you're folding a sheet,
That's mathematics!

When a ball
Bounces off of a wall,
When you cook
From a recipe book,
When you know
How much money you owe,
That's mathematics!

How much gold can you hold in an elephant's ear?
When it's noon on the moon, then what time is it here?
If you could count for a year, would you get to infinity,
Or somewhere in that vicinity?

When you choose
How much postage to use,
When you know
What's the chance it will snow,
When you bet
And you end up in debt,
Oh try as you may,
You just can't get away
From mathematics!

Andrew Wiles gently smiles,
Does his thing, and voila!
Q.E.D., we agree,
And we all shout hurrah!
As he confirms what Fermat
Jotted down in that margin,
Which could've used some enlargin'.

Tap your feet,
Keepin' time to a beat,
Of a song
While you're singing along,
With the rest of the guys,
Yes, try as you may,
You just can't get away
From mathematics!

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