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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Andrew Wiles and Fermat's Last Theorem

Andrew Wiles (1953-) is an English mathematician best known for proving Fermat's Last Theorem. Wikipedia says,


"Starting in mid-1986, based on successive progress of the previous few years of Gerhard Frey, Jean-Pierre Serre and Ken Ribet, it became clear that Fermat's Last Theorem could be proved as a corollary of a limited form of the modularity theorem (unproved at the time and then known as the 'Taniyama-Shimura-Weil conjecture')... In June 1993, [Wiles] presented his proof to the public for the first time at a conference in Cambridge." (Wikipedia: Andrew Wiles, 8.6.21 UTC 23:20)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Wiles.




"Perhaps I could best describe my experience of doing mathematics in terms of entering a dark mansion. You go into the first room and it's dark, completely dark. You stumble around, bumping into the furniture. Gradually you learn where each piece of furniture is. And finally after six months or so, you find the light switch and turn it on. Suddenly, it's all illuminated and you can see exactly where you were." (


"Some mathematics problems look simple, and you try them for a year or so, and then you try them for a hundred years, and it turns out that they're extremely hard to solve. There's no reason why these problems shouldn't be easy, and yet they turn out to be extremely intricate." (