News of the WeekMathematics

Fermat's Last Theorem Extended

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Science  09 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5425, pp. 178
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5425.178a

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Five years ago, the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem hit the mathematical world like an earthquake, rearranging the landscape and leaving previously unassailable peaks on the verge of collapse. This month, an aftershock has finally leveled the most prominent of these, a 40-year-old unsolved problem called the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture. While it lacks the colorful history of Fermat's 350-year-old unsolved puzzle, this conjecture applies to a vastly broader class of problems.