Research News

At Math Meetings, Enormous Theorem Eclipses Fermat

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Science  10 Feb 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5199, pp. 794-795
DOI: 10.1126/science.267.5199.794

Abstract

Hardly a word was said about Fermat's Last Theorem at the joint meetings of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America, held this year from 4 to 7 January in San Francisco. For Andrew Wiles's proof, no news is good news: There are no reports of mistakes. But mathematicians found plenty of other topics to discuss. Among them: a computational breakthrough in the study of turbulent diffusion and progress in slimming down the proof of an important result in group theory, whose original size makes checking the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem look like an afternoon's pastime.