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The professor who earned $ 700,000 for solving an equation from 300 years ago

The professor who earned $ 700,000 for solving an equation from 300 years ago

The professor who earned $ 700,000 for solving an equation from 300 years ago

Oxford University professor Andrew Wiles has received the Abel Prize for obtaining Fermat’s Last Theorem Solution.

The name Fermat is, of course, Pierre de Fermat, a 17th century French mathematician who established and discovered multiple mathematical concepts that still harm modern mathematicians today.

Perhaps his most famous work is the Fermat principle., which deals with the time it takes for light to travel a path when it propagates, and is therefore of great importance in the study of optics.

The genius who writes his discoveries in the margins of books

This was not the only important theorem or principle developed by Fermat, but the bad thing is that the genius sometimes I had the mana to write the solution to the problems that I found in the margins of the books, so his subsequent documentation was really complicated.

The result is that after his death Fermat left behind various challenges and problems that mathematicians have since attempted to solve; and from all of them, the one that stands out the most is Fermat’s last theorem, considered one of the most famous in the history of mathematics.

What is Fermat’s Last Theorem?

The theorem starts from what Fermat wrote in the right margin of a sheet from a Greek treatise on arithmetic (in the image above, the same page from the same edition), probably because that was what he had at hand at the time:

It is impossible to decompose a cube into two cubes, a quadratic cube into two cubic cubes, and in general, any power, apart from the square, into two powers of the same exponent. I have found a really admirable demonstration, but the margin of the book is too small to put it.

There it is. Fermat’s claim that has the demo, but no place to put itIt seems like a bad joke against the reader, but it is real. The theorem can be written as follows:

If n is an integer greater than 2, then there are no positive integers x, y, and z, such that equality is true:

x ^ n + y ^ n = z ^ n

And since the French died before he could explain to anyone what it consisted of, centuries passed in which innumerable mathematicians tried to repeat the genius’ line of thought to find the solution. His fame even reached the general public, and even a chapter in The Simpsons presents a possible rebuttal to the theorem.

The man who found the solution to Fermat’s Last Theorem and much more

Thus until 1995, the year in which the British Andrew Wiles published a study in which he developed the Taniyama-Shimura Theorem, and with what he had developed and what other scientists had advanced in the past, he managed to present a proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem using a new way, modularity.

But ironically, it was the development of the Taniyama-Shimura theorem, which really ended up revolutionizing mathematics modern; Solving Fermat’s Last Theorem was a welcome side effect.

This 2016, 21 years after the feat, Wiles has received the Abel Prize, unofficially considered the Nobel Prize for Mathematics; Not only is it a great honor, it is also a significant monetary income, $ 700,000.

Upon learning of the award, Wiles signs that rSolving the equation Fermat wrote left him with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment., since it had been his passion since he was young.

In this way one of today’s most influential mathematicians is rewarded, who not only solved a 300-year-old riddle, but also laid the foundation for modern mathematics.