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Turn-of-the-Century 'Hit List' Showed the Limits of Mathematical Ambition

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Science  26 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5470, pp. 1329
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5470.1329

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David Hilbert wouldn't be thrilled by the fate of the 23 problems he challenged his colleagues to solve a century ago. Although his speech in 1900 helped set the course of mathematics in the 20th century, perhaps the most striking and depressing discovery in 20th century mathematics was that Hilbert's grand scheme was a fool's errand.