In the mid-17th century, French mathematician Pierre de Fermat said that for any three whole numbers, a, b and c, the equation an + bn = cn could not be satisfied by any whole number n greater than 2. For example, something like “x³ + y³ = z³” simply would not be possible. And after formulating his theorem in a handwritten note in the margins of a book in 1637, he wrote: “I have a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain.” And since then, a mathematical proof of this theorem was missing, that is, up until now.
The prize is worth 6 million Norwegian kroner (around $700,000) and it should be delivered on May 24 by Prince Haakon, heir to the throne of Norway. Wiles, who bears the title of Knight of the British Empire, said his history with the theorem began over half a century ago when he was only ten years old. He would have found the theorem while skimming through a book and since then was determined to demonstrate it. The mission, however, was quite a difficult one, no wonder it wasn’t done in over 350 years. The proof was completed after seven years of intense work on what came to be a 200-page file.
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