Research News

Math Attendees Find There's Life After Fermat Proof

Science  04 Feb 1994:
Vol. 263, Issue 5147, pp. 614-615
DOI: 10.1126/science.263.5147.614


The uncertain status of the recent proof of Fermat's Last Theorem (Science, 24 December 1993, p. 1967) was the hot topic in the hallways at the joint meetings of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America, held 12-15 January in Cincinnati. But a few other topics did manage to get discussed. Among them: How gambling pays off in computing the volume of high-dimensional shapes; how a mathematical description of water dripping down a window pane might lead to the design of digital pulses that could race through the optical fibers of the future; and how one can be fooled infinitely often by another theorem of Fermat's.