IN DEFENSE OF UGLY PROOFS. Ball draws attention to the ugliness of the proofs of Fermat’s Last Theorem and the Four Color theorem. Yet, perhaps it is simply the case that art critics have not yet created an esthetic defense of these proofs. There is something lovely about 100 pages of complex support for a simply stated theorem. There is something dramatic about all those calculations to establish the truth of a single sentence. The ugliness may seem conspicuous because in these cases the simple problem came before the complexities of the proofs. If it happened with the proofs first and then the simple sentence, the beauty would be obvious.

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