rating: +79+x

Marie-Sophie Germain.

Item #: SCP-4079

Object Class: Euclid

Special Containment Procedures: All journals of mathematics and philosophy are to be screened by automated proof checking software to find instances of SCP-4079, focusing on articles regarding long-standing conjectures or disputed results, and articles that contradict previously established results. All instances of SCP-4079 found are to be censored and the corresponding papers retracted.

A document detailing the logic steps involved in SCP-4079 is to be stored in a High-Value Item Vault at Storage Site-1313. To reduce accidental exposure to potential memetic hazards, the document is to use symbolic logic represented using reverse Polish notation to obfuscate readability, and no written descriptions or explanations. An additional copy of this information is in the possession of the Foundation's Memetics Department, as it is an essential component of Fae-class suggestibility agents.

The original proof of Fermat's Last Theorem by Sophie Germain has been suppressed from the public record and replaced by the sanitized version released by herself later; no further action is required in this regard. The original documents regarding this proof and Germain's discovery of SCP-4079 are stored in a different High-Value Item Vault at Storage Site-33; this includes the letters written by Germain to prominent public figures during this period.

Description: SCP-4079 refers to a proof method or syllogism, referred to as modus adductus, discovered by French mathematician Marie-Sophie Germain in the year 1804 during the process of devising a proof for Fermat's Last Theorem. Modus adductus, like similar methods such as modus ponens or modus tollens, consists of a series of steps to show that a statement is a consequence of other previously accepted statements. However, SCP-4079's anomalous effect lies in the fact that any statement deemed as a consequence of another via the use of modus adductus is accepted as true by anyone capable of understanding the logical steps involved, regardless of the actual relation between the two statements.

Addendum 4079-1: Historical Notes

The first known instance of SCP-4079 was found in a letter written by Germain to fellow mathematician Karl Friedrich Gauss in 1804 detailing a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. Gauss' reply2 stated that, while he could not find any errors in Germain's proof, an intermediate step seemed to contradict a result proved by himself two years earlier. Following correspondence3 consisted of joint efforts by Germain and Gauss to find a mistake in either Germain's proof or Gauss' work, with no results. Eventually, Germain managed to isolate the problematic section of the proof and deduced the nature of SCP-4079; this was later corroborated by experimentation on Germain's part, by sending purposefully incorrect proofs (usually of nonsensical statements) to several prominent mathematicians such as Joseph-Louis Lagrange and Adrien-Marie Legendre, under various pseudonyms. While a few of the replies received pointed out that there might be an error in her work, none of them pointed to the SCP-4079 proof as faulty, instead citing false assumptions or mentioning potential new theories to explain the unexpected results.

Germain's notes contain extensive studies on SCP-4079 and its effect on human reasoning, along with philosophical notes regarding truth in mathematics and human knowledge; in these notes it is explicitly stated that understanding the logical steps involved is necessary in order for SCP-4079 to take effect. The framework set by Germain's work was a fundamental part of the early study of memetics, and in particular SCP-4079 is registered as the first recognized and studied anomalous meme in the Foundation's record.

Most of Germain's notes regarding SCP-4079 were never published, and her proof of Fermat's Last Theorem was retracted and replaced by a weaker version in a letter to Gauss from 1809. There is only one known instance of public SCP-4079 usage by Germain besides the aforementioned experimental letters, in which Germain wrote a letter intended to be read by Napoleon Bonaparte regarding the occupation of Braunschweig5 by French forces. In this letter, written in colloquial language but following the SCP-4079 structure, Germain stated the importance of protecting men of science and arts, and pleaded for Napoleon to avoid needless killing in the invasion. It is suspected that Napoleon's amateur interest in mathematics6 was enough for him to be susceptible to SCP-4079; however, it is unknown if the letter was actually read by him. It is known that Napoleon's policies regarding occupation of cities had a change around this period and that a squad of French soldiers was tasked with checking on Gauss' well-being during the occupation, facts that suggest that Napoleon did indeed receive the letter. However, the fact that General Pernetti, the leader of the squad, was known as a family friend of Sophie Germain allows for reasonable doubt to be held.

Addendum 4079-2: Relevant data obtained from the Alexandria Agreements

After signing the Alexandria Agreements, a treaty between the Foundation and the Global Occult Coalition in order to share relevant historical data about anomalies, several pamphlets and propaganda posters dated from 1941 to 1943 were delivered to the Foundation for analysis and deemed to contain a form of SCP-4079, as an attempt to increase adherence and loyalty to the Third Reich. These posters were traced to German mathematician Oswald Teichmüller, known for its allegiance to the NSDAP.

As predicted by Germain, this propaganda had a very low success rate. However, it has prompted investigation in a joint Foundation-GOC effort to look for other instances of public usage of SCP-4079-like propaganda agents. So far, the following evidence has been found:

  • Internal memorandums (dated 1961-1967) declassified by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency detailing the support given to the "New Math" project to completely overhaul the mathematics curriculum in elementary schools, in order to introduce the basics of logic, set theory and other abstract areas of mathematics at an early age; these documents mention plans to implement a unspecified "propaganda construct", presumed to be SCP-4079. These plans appear to have been abandoned after the failure of the New Math project.
  • Several documents from the USSR's GRU Division "P" regarding proposals to use SCP-4079-like constructs as part of larger-scale projects. Most of them were denied due to the (at the time) recent discovery of better memetic agents for the desired purposes.
  • Abnormalities detected in the mathematics curriculum of China, flagged as possibly related to SCP-4079 by automated statistical analysis. However, no actual evidence of SCP-4079 usage has been found.

Containment procedures for SCP-4079 are currently undergoing revision to take into account the detection and suppression of further attempts to use SCP-4079 by civilian governments.

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