Professor Wins $700,000 For Solving 300-Year-Old "Fermat's Last Theorem" Math Problem
Is anything more glamorous than the life of a mathematician? This week, University of Oxford professor Andrew Wiles was awarded the 2016 Abel Prize, one of the world's most prestigious mathematics prizes, for his work solving "Fermat's Last Theorem" back in 1994, reports CNN.
Wiles was awarded the prize, with comes with $700,000, for finally conquering the equation, which had gone more than 300 years without a solution. "Fermat's Last Theorem" is named for the man who originally posed it back in 1637, French mathematician Pierre de Fermat.
"It is a tremendous honor ... Fermat's equation was my passion from an early age, and solving it gave me an overwhelming sense of fulfillment," Wiles told the University of Oxford after hearing that he would receive the Abel Award, reports CNN. "It has always been my hope that my solution of this age-old problem would inspire many young people to take up mathematics and to work on the many challenges of this beautiful and fascinating subject."
Wiles spent seven years working on the theorem — in secret — while he was at Princeton, before finally solving it, but CNN reports that he had been interested in it since seeing it in a book when he was 10.