PROFESSOR PETER GODDARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PROFESSOR PETER GODDARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The man who proved Fermat's Last Theorem. Professor Andrew Wiles FRS (b.1953), British mathematician, after presenting a proof of the Taniyama-Shimura Conjecture during a lecture on 23 June 1993, Cambridge University. This proof, that every elliptic curve is associated with a modular form, is a profound part of number theory which he had been studying for seven years. A direct consequence of this proof is the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. Despite its apparent simplicity, Fermat's Theorem had confounded mathematicians for 300 years - Fermat claimed his own proof was too large for the margin of the book he was annotating, so never published.
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