Research News

Mathematics: Fermat Prover Points to Next Challenges

Science  22 Mar 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5256, pp. 1668-1669
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5256.1668


With the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem now on the books, what's left for number theorists to do? Plenty, says Andrew Wiles, the Princeton University mathematician who knocked off the Last Theorem. In recent lectures, Wiles laid out the next challenges in the theory of elliptic curves—the cubic equations that are ubiquitous in mathematics and were at the heart of his attack on Fermat's problem. The powerful tools he developed for his proof may bring the next step much closer.