So, you think teaching Maths is not monetarily beneficial? Check again as this Maths professor from England has bagged a kitty of 700,000 $ for the solution of a 379-year old Maths problem that had never been solved before. The Fermat’s Last Theorem or simply The Last Theorem has been in contemplation for a staggering 379 years, and no one had been able to solve it before. Andrew Wiles of the Oxford University, UK was recently knighted for his services to the numbers game and he has just received the Abel Prize 2016, which has been touted as the Nobel Price for Mathematics for singular achievement. The award carries a 700,000 $ prize that somehow isn’t considered that extravagant since the proof he has successfully completed has been called “an epochal moment for Maths.”
It was back in the 1960s when a 10-year-old Andrew was introduced to this unsolvable problem, and he immediately got captivated by it. It was literally the most famous problem in the field, and he was amazed at how modern technology and advancements in the field couldn’t help solve the problem. When he first went to college, he tried a solution for it but failed. From then onwards, he kept on trying as it was a unique way to practice something as amazing in maths. The maths problem is:
“There are no whole number solutions to the equation xn+yn=zn when n is greater than 2.” It was proposed by the French Mathematician Pierre de Fermat“ and took all this time just to be solved! While the theorem itself is simple, the solution is over 200 pages long and is a result of Wiles’ seven years worth of hard work. He completed the work in 1993, but a mathematician noticed flaws in the proof and Wiles had to get to work again. The final version was published in 1995 and story behind the theorem generated such an interest that it was made into a book which became an international bestseller. The question you all would be asking how Wiles achieved it when nobody could in more than three and a half centuries worth of Einsteins, Newtons, and Pascals? For that, you will have to read his book as nothing this complex is easy to explain in Maths. You can see a bit more detail here.
Sir Andrew Wiles was deeply humbled by his prize and has said that he did what he could to solve the passion of his life. We hope the solution of this centuries old problem will inspire more ten-year-olds to excel in this field otherwise thought as dry and boring.