I don’t know who you are and what you know already. If you would be a research level mathematician with a sound knowledge of algebra, algebraic geometry. Fermat’s Last Theorem was until recently the most famous unsolved problem in mathematics. In the midth century Pierre de Fermat wrote that no value of n. On June 23, , Andrew Wiles wrote on a blackboard, before an audience A proof by Fermat has never been found, and the problem remained open.

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I carried this problem around in my head basically the whole time. InDutch computer scientist Jan Bergstra posed the problem of formalizing Wiles’ proof in such a way that it could be verified by computer.

Among the introductory presentations are an email which Ribet sent in ; [28] [29] Hesselink’s quick review of top-level issues, which gives just the elementary algebra and avoids abstract algebra; [24] or Daney’s web page, which provides a set of his own notes and lists the current books available on the subject.

If the assumption is wrong, that means no such numbers exist, which proves Fermat’s Last Theorem is correct. The new ideas introduced by Wiles were crucial to many subsequent developments, including the proof in of the general case of the modularity conjecture by Christophe Breuil, Brian Conrad, Fred Diamond, and Richard Taylor. Sir Andrew first became fascinated with the problem as a boy. I would wake up with it first thing in the morning, I would be thinking about it all day, and I would be thinking about it when I went to sleep.

It was finally accepted as correct, and published, infollowing the correction of a subtle error in one part of his original paper.

It has always been my hope that my solution of this age-old problem would inspire many young people to take up mathematics and to work on the many challenges of this beautiful and fascinating subject.

Fermat’s equation was my passion from an early age, and solving it gave me vermat overwhelming sense of fulfilment. It also uses standard constructions of vermat algebraic geometry, such as the category of schemes and Iwasawa theoryand other 20th-century techniques which were not available to Fermat.


Wiles’s paper is over pages long and often uses the specialised symbols and notations of group theoryalgebraic geometrycommutative algebraand Willes theory. Without distraction, I would have the same thing going round and round in my mind.

The episode Anddew Wizard of Evergreen Terrace mentionswhich matches not only in the first 10 decimal places but also the easy-to-check last place Greenwald. There is a certain sense of sadness, but at the same time there is this tremendous sense of achievement. Certainly one thing that I’ve learned is that it is important to pick a problem based on how much you care about it.

You stumble around bumping into the furniture, but gradually you learn where each piece of furniture is. In the note, Fermat claimed to have discovered a proof that the Diophantine equation has no integer solutions for and. With the lifting theorem proved, we return to the original problem. Broadcast by the Anderw. Gerd Faltings subsequently provided some simplifications to the proof, primarily in switching from geometric constructions to rather simpler algebraic ones.

Nobody had any idea how to approach Taniyama-Shimura but at least it was mainstream mathematics. Notices of the American Mathematical Society. If the original mod 3 representation has an image which is too small, one runs into trouble with the lifting argument, and in this case, there is a final trick, which has since taken on a life of its own with the subsequent work on the Serre Modularity Conjecture.

Andrew Wiles Andrew Wiles devoted much of his entire career to proving Fermat’s Last Theorem, the world’s most famous mathematical problem.

Fermat’s Last Theorem — from Wolfram MathWorld

In translation, “It is impossible for a cube to andreww the sum of two cubes, a fourth power to be the sum of two fourth powers, or in general for any number that is a power greater than the second to be the sum of two like powers. By the time rolled around, the general case of Fermat’s Last Theorem had been shown to be true for all exponents up to Cipra Following the developments related to the Frey Curve, and its link to both Fermat and Taniyama, a proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem would follow from a proof of the Taniyama—Shimura—Weil conjecture — or at least a proof of the conjecture for the kinds of elliptic curves that included Frey’s equation known as semistable elliptic curves.


He was awarded his PhD in for his work on elliptic curves, a type of equation that was first studied in connection with measuring the lengths wilees planetary orbits.

It is easy to demonstrate that these representations come from some elliptic curve but the converse is the difficult part to prove. But instead of being fixed, the problem, which had originally seemed minor, now seemed very significant, far more serious, and less easy to resolve. Kummer’s attack led to the theory of idealsand Vandiver developed Vandiver’s criteria for deciding if a given irregular prime satisfies the theorem.

How did we get so lucky as to find a proof at all? Public Broadcasting System on Oct.

Wiles’s proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem

He showed that it was likely that the curve could link Fermat and Taniyama, since any counterexample to Fermat’s Last Theorem would probably also imply that an elliptic curve existed that was not modular.

There’s no reason why these problems shouldn’t be easy, and yet they turn out to be extremely intricate.

Wiles had the insight that in many cases this ring homomorphism could be a ring isomorphism Conjecture 2. Two years later the American Ken Ribet proved that Frey’s hunch was correct: Miyaoka Cipra whose proof, however, turned out to be flawed. Wiles, University of Oxford profo his stunning proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem by way of the modularity conjecture for semistable elliptic curves, opening a new era in number theory’. It mentioned a 19th-century construction, and I suddenly realized that I should be able to use that to complete the proof.

InJean-Pierre Serre provided a partial proof that a Frey curve could not be modular. Wiles described this realization as a “key breakthrough”.

I told her on our honeymoon, just a few days after we got married.

Last modified: May 16, 2020