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         Wiles Andrew:     more books (26)
  1. The Millennium Prize Problems by Arthur Jaffe and Andrew Wiles (editors) James Carlson, 2006-06-01
  2. English Mathematicians: Isaac Newton, Alan Turing, Bertrand Russell, Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, J. J. Thomson, Andrew Wiles
  3. Mathématicien Britannique: Andrew Wiles, Paul Dirac, Alan Turing, John Maynard Keynes, Oliver Heaviside, Roger Penrose, George Boole (French Edition)
  4. Alumni of Clare College, Cambridge: James D. Watson, Andrew Wiles, Sabine Baring-Gould, David Attenborough, Rupert Sheldrake
  5. Andrew Wiles: An entry from Gale's <i>Science and Its Times</i> by Todd Timmons, 2001
  6. Number theorists: Carl Friedrich Gauss, David Hilbert, Leonhard Euler, Andrew Wiles, Eratosthenes, Sophie Germain, Fibonacci
  7. Old Leysians: Andrew Wiles, James Hilton, J. G. Ballard, Malcolm Lowry, Michael Rennie, Christopher Hitchens, Peter Hitchens, Eric A. Havelock
  8. Rolf Schock Prize Laureates: Andrew Wiles, Saul Kripke, Willard Van Orman Quine, John Rawls, Mauricio Kagel, György Ligeti, Dana Scott
  9. Honorary Fellows of Merton College, Oxford: Andrew Wiles, C. A. R. Hoare, Alec Jeffreys, Roger Bannister, Adam Hart-Davis, Mark Thompson
  10. Chevalier Commandeur de L'ordre de L'empire Britannique: Alfred Hitchcock, Andrew Wiles, Tim Berners-Lee, Steven Spielberg, Charlie Chaplin (French Edition)
  11. Alumni of Merton College, Oxford: Andrew Wiles, T. S. Eliot, William of Ockham, C. A. R. Hoare, Frederick Soddy, Alec Jeffreys
  12. Mathématicien Du Xxe Siècle: Andrew Wiles, René Thom, Bertrand Russell, Emmy Noether, David Hilbert, Richard Von Mises, Henri-Léon Lebesgue (French Edition)
  13. Ancien Étudiant de Clare College: Andrew Wiles, Rupert Sheldrake, Siegfried Sassoon, William Whiston, Ralph Cudworth, James Dewey Watson (French Edition)
  14. Naissance à Cambridge: Andrew Wiles, John Maynard Keynes, Douglas Adams, David Gilmour, Olivia Newton-John, Matthew Bellamy, Syd Barrett (French Edition)

1. Wiles
Andrew John Wiles. Born 11 April 1953 in Cambridge, England. Andrew Wiles'sinterest in Fermat's Last Theorem began at a young age. He said.
Andrew John Wiles
Born: 11 April 1953 in Cambridge, England
Click the picture above
to see three larger pictures Show birthplace location Previous (Chronologically) Next Biographies Index Previous (Alphabetically) Next Main index
Andrew Wiles 's interest in Fermat's Last Theorem began at a young age. He said:- ... I was a ten year old and one day I happened to be looking in my local public library and I found a book on maths and it told a bit about the history of this problem and I, a ten year old, could understand it. From that moment I tried to solve it myself, it was such a challenge, such a beautiful problem, this problem was Fermat's Last Theorem. In 1971, Wiles entered Merton College, Oxford, graduating with a B.A. in 1974. He then entered Clare College, Cambridge to study for his doctorate. His Ph.D. supervisor at Cambridge was John Coates who said:- I have been very fortunate to have had Andrew as a student. Even as a research student he was a wonderful person to work with, he had very deep ideas then and it was always clear he was a mathematician who would do great things. Wiles did not work on Fermat's Last Theorem for his doctorate. He said:-

2. Poster Of Wiles
Andrew Wiles. was born in 1953. Wiles finally proved Fermat's LastTheorem in 1995. Find out more at http//
Andrew Wiles was born in 1953 Wiles finally proved Fermat's Last Theorem in 1995 Find out more at

3. Ask Jeeves: Search Results For "Wiles, Andrew John"
Andrew Wiles Solving Fermat Andrew wiles andrew WILES I grew up in Cambridge inEngland, and my love of mathematics dates from those early childhood days., Andrew John

4. Andrew Wiles
Andrew Wiles. search on title find in 1994. Before this result, AndrewWiles had done outstanding work in number theory. In work

5. Andrew Wiles
Andrew wiles andrew Wiles was born in Cambridge in 1953. He began toshow a particular interest for mathematics at a very young age.
Andrew Wiles
Andrew Wiles was born in Cambridge in 1953. He began to show a particular interest for mathematics at a very young age. At the age of ten, young Wiles discovered a book at his local library that contained some mathematical problems. It was in this book that Wiles first encountered Fermat's Last Theorem. He saw that there was a problem that he could understand but not even some of the greatest mathematicians had been able to solve. It was then that proving Fermat's Last Theorem would become Wile's lifelong dream.
Information for this article was obtained from the official Web site of The School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland (

6. Andrew Wiles
Andrew Wiles. 7/28/99. Click here to start. Table of Contents. Andrew Wiles.Andrew Wiles. Andrew Wiles. Author Fred Worth Email
Andrew Wiles
Click here to start
Table of Contents
Andrew Wiles Andrew Wiles Andrew Wiles Author: Fred Worth Email:

7. Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society: Andrew Wiles
Programs » Prizes Awards » Common Wealth » wiles andrew Wiles1996 Common Wealth Award for Science and Invention. Britishborn
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    Common Wealth
    Andrew Wiles
    1996 Common Wealth Award for Science and Invention n +y n =z n has no solutions which are positive whole numbers. Wiles, 42, collaborated with Richard L. Taylor, a former student, to present two lengthy manuscripts justifying the proof to the theorem in 1993. He earned his B.S. from Oxford University and Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Following in the footsteps of his father, Wiles went on to become an assistant professor at Harvard University. In 1982 he became a lecturer at the Institute for Advanced Studies and professor of mathematics at Princeton. Back to top
  • 8. Clay Mathematics Institute - Andrew Wiles
    ANDREW WILES. Andrew Wiles' Inspirational Talk at the Closing Ceremony of theInternational Mathematics Olympiad. Up one level Next page Edward Witten
    Andrew Wiles' Inspirational Talk at the Closing Ceremony of the International Mathematics Olympiad
    July 13, 2001 It’s my great pleasure to welcome the Olympiad contestants, their parents, organizers and others to the closing ceremony of this Olympiad. I'm going to address myself primarily to the contestants: the aspiring young mathematicians in what for some of you at least may be your graduation from high school mathematics. Unlike a traditional graduation, perhaps many of you will have no clear idea of what awaits you in the outside world of professional mathematics. However before I talk of the future, let me first congratulate you all. Some have arrived here by overcoming immense personal difficulties, others have arrived here overcoming only immense mathematical difficulties, but all of you have shown great talent and a real capacity for tremendous hard work. I've talked now enough in the abstract. Let me talk about one of these unsolved problems. I'm going to talk about a problem that is at least a thousand years old perhaps more. It is a part of one of the seven problems selected by the Clay Mathematics Institute as its Millennium Prize Problems For each of these, as you heard before, there is a prize of one million dollars. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me begin with the prehistory of this problem. document.write("")

    9. Andrew Wiles - Wikipedia
    Andrew Wiles. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Before this result,Andrew Wiles had done outstanding work in number theory.

    10. Andrew Wiles
    Andrew Wiles Wiles first announced his proof in 1993 but technical difficulties pointedout by Richard Taylor, (a former student of Wiles) showed that proof to
    Andrew Wiles Wiles first announced his proof in 1993 but technical difficulties pointed out by Richard Taylor, (a former student of Wiles) showed that proof to be incomplete. A year later he managed to demonstrate a complete proof (actually using slightly simpler ideas) with the collaboration of Taylor for the particular portion which had invalidated his earlier attempt. The papers were published together, constituting one issue of the Annals of Mathematics.
    Return to homepage

    11. Wiles
    ANDREW WILES To Andrew Wiles, Fermat's Last Theorem was a very specialpuzzle, and nothing less than his life's ambition. Thirty
    To Andrew Wiles, Fermat's Last Theorem was a very special puzzle, and nothing less than his life's ambition. Thirty years before, as a child, he had been inspired by Fermat's Last Theorem, having stumbled upon it in a public library book. His childhood and adulthood dream was to solve the problem, and when he first revealed a proof in the summer of 1993, it came at the end of seven years of dedicated work on the problem in practical isolation, a degree of focus and determination that is hard to imagine.
    Wiles said:
    "Pure mathematicians just love a challenge. They love unsolved problems. When doing maths there's this great feeling. You start with a problem that just mystifies you. You can't understand it, it's so complicated, you just can't make head nor tail of it. But then when you finally resolve it, you have this incredible feeling of how beautiful it is, how it all fits together so elegantly. Most deceptive are the problems which look easy, and yet they turn out to be incredibly intricate. Fermat is the most beautiful example of this. It just looked as though it had to have a solution and, of course, it's very special because Fermat said that he had a solution."
    As a school child in the 20th century, he was right to think that he knew as much Mathematics as Pierre de Fermat, a genius of the 17th century, did. But despite his enthusiasm every calculation resulted in a dead end. After a year of failure he changed his strategy and decided he might be able to learn something from the mistakes of other more eminent mathematicians. He was not prepared to give up, finding a proof of The Last Theorem had turned from being a childhood fascination into a fully-fledged obsession. Fermat's Last Theorem was the ultimate test for any mathematician and whoever could prove it would succeed where Cauchy, Euler, Kummer, and countless others had failed.

    12. Charlemagne Capital: Error Page
    Andrew Wiles (British) aged 29 has worked for Charlemagne Capital since1995. He is a member of the Portfolio Management Team responsible
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    The page could not be found in the website. (404 File not Found). Click here to return to the last page you viewed.

    13. Andrew Wiles
    Andrew Wiles. To Fermat’s horror, his last theorem was finally proven in 1995 byan English Mathematician by the name of Andrew Wiles (as discussed earlier). Proof.html
    Andrew Wiles
    To Fermat’s horror, his last theorem was finally proven in 1995 by an English Mathematician by the name of Andrew Wiles (as discussed earlier). Wiles had first encountered the problem as a child, a fascination with puzzles had lead him to a public library where he found a book called The Last Problem by Eric Temple Bell, it contained a variety of puzzles of Wiles’ taste. Working his way through the book Wiles found that each question was accompanied by a neatly structured answer at the back of the book, at least until he encountered the final problem. Probably as a mere whimsical gesture the author of the book had included FLT as one of the puzzles, stating a little about it’s history and the people that had worked on it. Flicking to the back of the book Wiles discovered that there was no answer to this puzzle, and so began another man’s obsession with the 17th century problem. Fate would play a large part in Wiles’ final proof. It was fate that at an early age he had read and become fascinated with FLT and it was fate again that as a Cambridge graduate he was set to work on an area of mathematics known as elliptical curves. Despite still maintaining an interest in Fermat’s last theorem it was impossible for Wiles to devote himself to it, he still had responsibilities to the university and the problem itself was not thought to have been the worthwhile pursuit of a gifted individual such as himself. It is not necessary for the reader to appreciate what elliptical curves are or what area of mathematics they are involved in, it just needs to be stated that at the time there seemed to be no obvious link between them and FLT.

    14. Andrew Wiles
    Andrew Wiles, föddes den 11 april år 1953 i Cambridge, England, och skulle utvecklastill en av världens främsta talteoretiker samt den om lyckades knäcka
    Födelseland: England Födelseår: 1953 Andrew Wiles, föddes den 11 april år 1953 i Cambridge, England, och skulle utvecklas till en av världens främsta talteoretiker samt den om lyckades knäcka det svåraste matematiska problemet någonsin, nämligen Fermats sista sats . Han blev fängslad av denna sats när han lånade boken "The last Problem" av Eric Temple Bell om Fermats sista sats på biblioteket som tioåring och skulle mer eller mindre ständigt ha ett mål i tanken, att knäcka problemet. I början av 1970-talet började han studera vid Cambridge University i hemstaden. Han fick en bok om talteori av en lärare som hade forskat inom matematik och kunde börja attackera Fermats sista sats så smått med ungefär samma metoder som Fermat hade att tillgå. Helt utan framgång under mer än ett år så beslöt han sig för att försöka lära sig utav alla de som gjort seriösa försök att bevisa Fermats sista sats och försöka hitta misstag i deras resonemang. Också detta utan resultat.
    År 1975 började Andrew som doktorand med John Coates som handledare och redan då hade han mycket djupa ideer och det var uppenbart för bl a handledaren att Wiles skulle komma att bli en stor matematiker. Området blev elliptiska kurvor , ett område skulle kunna användas för att försöka lösa Fermats sista sats men som även var ett helt fristående och viktigt forskningsområde. Wiles etablerade snart ett rykte som en lysande talteoretiker med en djup förståelse för elliptiska ekvationer och deras E-serier. Han disputerade år 19.

    15. Andrew Wiles
    Andrew Wiles. College Address Home Address 3301 St.Paul St. Apt 801B. 7163 Fountain Rock Way. Baltimore, Maryland 21218.
    Andrew Wiles College Address: Home Address: 3301 St. Paul St. Apt 801B 7163 Fountain Rock Way Baltimore, Maryland 21218 Columbia, Maryland 21046 Education: Johns Hopkins University Major: Computer Science G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering Expected Graduation Date: May 1999 Experience: Johns Hopkins University Department of Computer Science. Baltimore, Maryland. Employed: April 1997- Present. Systems Administrator
    • Responsible for all of the department's Silicon Graphics (SGI) workstations Provide user support for the department's SGI user base Routine maintenance tasks - software and operating systems installation and upgrades, additional hardware installation and maintenance Control of periodic backups
    Teaching Assistant
    • Undergraduate TA for Intro. To C/C++ Programming – responsibilities include grading papers, holding office hours and proctoring exams.
    Microcosm, Inc. Government contractor / software developers. Columbia, Maryland. Employed: May 1995 - Present. Contract Programmer
    • Designed and coded Windows GUI and functional units to link a motion controller and frame grabber to profile a microchip (on a three person team). Designed ad coded Windows GUI and functional units for similar project - this project was designed to profile and mark a diamond precisely with a laser to promote better labeling and cutting (on another three person team)
    Network Administrator
    • Administrator on internal Microsoft (95 and NT Primary Domain Controller) network Controlled Internet gateway security and general maintenance of network hierarchy and access

    16. Andrew Wiles - Wikipedia
    Translate this page Andrew Wiles. Un article de Wikipédia, l'encyclopédie libre. AndrewJohn Wiles est né le 11 avril 1953 à Cambridge (Angleterre).

    17. Mansion Of Math - Andrew Wiles
    Andrew John Wiles. born 11 April 1953. Andrew Wiles. Andrew Wiles earnedhis BA at Oxford in 1974, and received his Ph.D. from Cambridge in 1980.
    Andrew John Wiles
    born 11 April 1953
    "Perhaps I could best describe my experience of doing mathematics in terms of entering a dark mansion. One goes into the first room, and it's dark, completely dark. One stumbles around bumping into the furniture, and gradually, you learn where each piece of furniture is, and finally, after six months or so, you find the light switch. You turn it on, and suddenly, it's all illuminated. You can see exactly where you were.
    Andrew Wiles Andrew Wiles earned his B.A. at Oxford in 1974, and received his Ph.D. from Cambridge in 1980. In 1981, he took a post at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and he became a professor at Princeton the following year. About 350 years ago, Pierre de Fermat used to write in the margins of his math books. He wrote notes to himself, and sketched out ideas. Over time, mathematicians went back through Fermat's notes, and wrote formal "official" proofs for most of Fermat's conjectures (the fancy word for guess). One of Fermat's guesses, however, could not be proved. It became known as Fermat's Last Theorem because it was the last one left to prove. You can read more about number theory and Fermat's Last Theorem in the Den Andrew Wiles first learned about Fermat's Last Theorem as a child. "I was a ten year old, and one day I happened to be looking in my local public library and I found a book on math, and it told a bit about the history of this problem and I, a ten year old, could understand it. From that moment I tried to solve it myself, it was such a challenge, such a beautiful problem."

    18. Andrew Wiles
    Andrew Wiles. Born April 11, 1953. Fermat’s last theorem.” Encyclopedia “Wiles, Andrew John Encyclopedia Britannica.
    Andrew Wiles Born: April 11, 1953 Cambridge, England by Diane Neal Gulf Coast Community College March, 2000
    Andrew Wiles is a world-renowned English mathematician who received his fame in recent years. In 1993 Wiles solved a math problem that other mathematicians had been trying to solve for the past 350 years. He found a proof for Fermat’s last theorem . In finding this proof, Wiles not only laid a 17 th century problem to rest, but fulfilled his life-long dream. In the words of Andrew Wiles… …Fermat was my childhood passion. There is no problem that will mean the same to me.
    Andrew Wiles was born on April 11, 1953 in Cambridge, England. He lived there throughout his childhood. It was in Cambridge that Andrew was introduced to what would become his life’s ambition. Even as a child Andrew enjoyed doing math problems. He loved doing the problems at school so much that he took them home and made new ones of his own. He also enjoyed solving mathematical riddles from puzzle-books that he found in his local library. When Wiles was 10 years old, he came across a book in the library entitled

    19. Andrew Wiles
    1. fermatin son teoremini teorem haline sokan ingiliz matematikçi.onun disinda kayda deger bir sey yapmamis, muhtemelen wiles

    Solving Fermat Andrew wiles andrew Wiles devoted much of his entire career toproving Fermat's Last Theorem, the world's most famous mathematical problem.
    Solving Fermat: Andrew Wiles Andrew Wiles devoted much of his entire career to proving Fermat's Last Theorem, the world's most famous mathematical problem. In 1993, he made front-page headlines when he announced a proof of the problem, but this was not the end of the story; an error in his calculation jeopardized his life's work. Andrew Wiles spoke to NOVA and described how he came to terms with the mistake, and eventually went on to achieve his life's ambition. NOVA: Many great scientific discoveries are the result of obsession, but in your case that obsession has held you since you were a child. ANDREW WILES: I grew up in Cambridge in England, and my love of mathematics dates from those early childhood days. I loved doing problems in school. I'd take them home and make up new ones of my own. But the best problem I ever found, I found in my local public library. I was just browsing through the section of math books and I found this one book, which was all about one particular problem Fermat's Last Theorem. This problem had been unsolved by mathematicians for 300 years. It looked so simple, and yet all the great mathematicians in history couldn't solve it. Here was a problem, that I, a ten year old, could understand and I knew from that moment that I would never let it go. I had to solve it. NOVA: Who was Fermat and what was his Last Theorem? AW: Fermat was a 17th-century mathematician who wrote a note in the margin of his book stating a particular proposition and claiming to have proved it. His proposition was about an equation which is closely related to Pythagoras' equation. Pythagoras' equation gives you: x^2 + y^2 = z2 You can ask, what are the whole number solutions to this equation, and you can see that: 3^2 + 4^2 = 5^2 and 5^2 + 12^2 = 13^2 And if you go on looking then you find more and more such solutions. Fermat then considered the cubed version of this equation: x^3 + y^3 = z^3 He raised the question: can you find solutions to the cubed equation? He claimed that there were none. In fact, he claimed that for the general family of equations: x^n + y^n = z^n where n is bigger than 2 it is impossible to find a solution. That's Fermat's Last Theorem. NOVA: So Fermat said because he could not find any solutions to this equation, then there were no solutions? AW: He did more than that. Just because we can't find a solution it doesn't mean that there isn't one. Mathematicians aren't satisfied because they know there are no solutions up to four million or four billion, they really want to know that there are no solutions up to infinity. And to do that we need a proof. Fermat said he had a proof. Unfortunately, all he ever wrote down was: "I have a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain." NOVA: What do you mean by a proof? AW: In a mathematical proof you have a line of reasoning consisting of many, many steps, that are almost self-evident. If the proof we write down is really rigorous, then nobody can ever prove it wrong. There are proofs that date back to the Greeks that are still valid today. NOVA: So the challenge was to rediscover Fermat's proof of the Last Theorem. Why did it become so famous? AW: Well, 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. The Last Theorem is the most beautiful example of this. NOVA: But finding a proof has no applications in the real world; it is a purely abstract question. So why have people put so much effort into finding a proof? AW: Pure mathematicians just love to try unsolved problems they love a challenge. And as time passed and no proof was found, it became a real challenge. I've read letters in the early 19th century which said that it was an embarrassment to mathematics that the Last Theorem had not been solved. And of course, it's very special because Fermat said that he had a proof. NOVA: How did you begin looking for the proof? AW: In my early teens I tried to tackle the problem as I thought Fermat might have tried it. I reckoned that he wouldn't have known much more math than I knew as a teenager. Then when I reached college, I realized that many people had thought about the problem during the 18th and 19th centuries and so I studied those methods. But I still wasn't getting anywhere. Then when I became a researcher, I decided that I should put the problem aside. It's not that I forgot about it it was always there but I realized that the only techniques we had to tackle it had been around for 130 years. It didn't seem that these techniques were really getting to the root of the problem. The problem with working on Fermat was that you could spend years getting nowhere. It's fine to work on any problem, so long as it generates interesting mathematics along the way even if you don't solve it at the end of the day. The definition of a good mathematical problem is the mathematics it generates rather than the problem itself. NOVA: It seems that the Last Theorem was considered impossible, and that mathematicians could not risk wasting getting nowhere. But then in 1986 everything changed. A breakthrough by Ken Ribet at the University of California at Berkeley linked Fermat's Last Theorem to another unsolved problem, the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture. Can you remember how you reacted to this news? AW: It was one evening at the end of the summer of 1986 when I was sipping iced tea at the house of a friend. Casually in the middle of a conversation this friend told me that Ken Ribet had proved a link between Taniyama-Shimura and Fermat's Last Theorem. I was electrified. I knew that moment that the course of my life was changing because this meant that to prove Fermat's Last Theorem all I had to do was to prove the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture. It meant that my childhood dream was now a respectable thing to work on. I just knew that I could never let that go. NOVA: So, because Taniyama-Shimura was a modern problem, this meant that working on it, and by implication trying to prove Fermat's Last Theorem, was respectable. AW: Yes. Nobody had any idea how to approach Taniyama-Shimura but at least it was mainstream mathematics. I could try and prove results, which, even if they didn't get the whole thing, would be worthwhile mathematics. So the romance of Fermat, which had held me all my life, was now combined with a problem that was professionally acceptable. NOVA: At this point you decided to work in complete isolation. You told nobody that you were embarking on a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. Why was that? AW: I realized that anything to do with Fermat's Last Theorem generates too much interest. You can't really focus yourself for years unless you have undivided concentration, which too many spectators would have destroyed. NOVA: But presumably you told your wife what you were doing? AW: My wife's only known me while I've been working on Fermat. I told her on our honeymoon, just a few days after we got married. My wife had heard of Fermat's Last Theorem, but at that time she had no idea of the romantic significance it had for mathematicians, that it had been such a thorn in our flesh for so many years. NOVA: On a day-to-day basis, how did you go about constructing your proof? AW: I used to come up to my study, and start trying to find patterns. I tried doing calculations which explain some little piece of mathematics. I tried to fit it in with some previous broad conceptual understanding of some part of mathematics that would clarify the particular problem I was thinking about. Sometimes that would involve going and looking it up in a book to see how it's done there. Sometimes it was a question of modifying things a bit, doing a little extra calculation. And sometimes I realized that nothing that had ever been done before was any use at all. Then I just had to find something completely new; it's a mystery where that comes from. I carried this problem around in my head basically the whole time. 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. Without distraction, I would have the same thing going round and round in my mind. The only way I could relax was when I was with my children. Young children simply aren't interested in Fermat. They just want to hear a story and they're not going to let you do anything else. NOVA: Usually people work in groups and use each other for support. What did you do when you hit a brick wall? AW: When I got stuck and I didn't know what to do next, I would go out for a walk. I'd often walk down by the lake. Walking has a very good effect in that you're in this state of relaxation, but at the same time you're allowing the sub-conscious to work on you. And often if you have one particular thing buzzing in your mind then you don't need anything to write with or any desk. I'd always have a pencil and paper ready and, if I really had an idea, I'd sit down at a bench and I'd start scribbling away. NOVA: So for seven years you're pursuing this proof. Presumably there are periods of self-doubt mixed with the periods of success. AW: Perhaps I can best describe my experience of doing mathematics in terms of a journey through a dark unexplored mansion. You enter the first room of the mansion and it's completely dark. You stumble around bumping into the furniture, but gradually you learn where each piece of furniture is. Finally, after six months or so, you find the light switch, you turn it on, and suddenly it's all illuminated. You can see exactly where you were. Then you move into the next room and spend another six months in the dark. So each of these breakthroughs, while sometimes they're momentary, sometimes over a period of a day or two, they are the culmination of and couldn't exist without the many months of stumbling around in the dark that proceed them. NOVA: And during those seven years, you could never be sure of achieving a complete proof. AW: I really believed that I was on the right track, but that did not mean that I would necessarily reach my goal. It could be that the methods needed to take the next step may simply be beyond present day mathematics. Perhaps the methods I needed to complete the proof would not be invented for a hundred years. So even if I was on the right track, I could be living in the wrong century. NOVA: Then eventually in 1993, you made the crucial breakthrough. AW: Yes, it was one morning in late May. My wife, Nada, was out with the children and I was sitting at my desk thinking about the last stage of the proof. I was casually looking at a research paper and there was one sentence that just caught my attention. It mentioned a 19th-century construction, and I suddenly realized that I should be able to use that to complete the proof. I went on into the afternoon and I forgot to go down for lunch, and by about three or four o'clock, I was really convinced that this would solve the last remaining problem. It got to about tea time and I went downstairs and Nada was very surprised that I'd arrived so late. Then I told her I'd solved Fermat's Last Theorem. NOVA: The New York Times exclaimed "At Last Shout of 'Eureka!' in Age-Old Math Mystery," but unknown to them, and to you, there was an error in your proof. What was the error? AW: It was an error in a crucial part of the argument, but it was something so subtle that I'd missed it completely until that point. The error is so abstract that it can't really be described in simple terms. Even explaining it to a mathematician would require the mathematician to spend two or three months studying that part of the manuscript in great detail. NOVA: Eventually, after a year of work, and after inviting the Cambridge mathematician Richard Taylor to work with you on the error, you managed to repair the proof. The question that everybody asks is this; is your proof the same as Fermat's? AW: There's no chance of that. Fermat couldn't possibly have had this proof. It's 150 pages long. It's a 20th-century proof. It couldn't have been done in the 19th century, let alone the 17th century. The techniques used in this proof just weren't around in Fermat's time. NOVA: So Fermat's original proof is still out there somewhere. AW: I don't believe Fermat had a proof. I think he fooled himself into thinking he had a proof. But what has made this problem special for amateurs is that there's a tiny possibility that there does exist an elegant 17th-century proof. NOVA: So some mathematicians might continue to look for the original proof. What will you do next? AW: There's no problem that will mean the same to me. Fermat was my childhood passion. There's nothing to replace it. I'll try other problems. I'm sure that some of them will be very hard and I'll have a sense of achievement again, but nothing will mean the same to me. There's no other problem in mathematics that could hold me the way that this one did. There is a sense of melancholy. We've lost something that's been with us for so long, and something that drew a lot of us into mathematics. But perhaps that's always the way with math problems, and we just have to find new ones to capture our attention. People have told me I've taken away their problem can't I give them something else? I feel some sense of responsibility. I hope that seeing the excitement of solving this problem will make young mathematicians realize that there are lots and lots of other problems in mathematics which are going to be just as challenging in the future. NOVA: What is the main challenge now? AW: The greatest problem for mathematicians now is probably the Riemann Hypothesis. But it's not a problem that can be simply stated. NOVA: And is there any one particular thought that remains with you now that Fermat's Last Theorem has been laid to rest? AW: Certainly one thing that I've learned is that it is important to pick a problem based on how much you care about it. However impenetrable it seems, if you don't try it, then you can never do it. Always try the problem that matters most to you. I had this rare privilege of being able to pursue in my adult life, what had been my childhood dream. I know it's a rare privilege, but if one can really tackle something in adult life that means that much to you, then it's more rewarding than anything I can imagine. NOVA: And now that journey is over, there must be a certain sadness? AW: There is a certain sense of sadness, but at the same time there is this tremendous sense of achievement. There's also a sense of freedom. I was so obsessed by this problem that I was thinking about it all the time when I woke up in the morning, when I went to sleep at night and that went on for eight years. That's a long time to think about one thing. That particular odyssey is now over. My mind is now at rest.

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