Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

World's Hardest Maths Problem 'Solved'

rex.png

If attempting long division at school still gives you nightmares, it might be safer to look away now.

Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki, of Kyoto University, has published four papers which appear to have a serious claim to be proof of one of the most difficult problems in Mathematics: the abc conjecture.

The problem exists within a strand of pure mathematics known as Number Theory and the conjecture states that where three positive numbers a, b and c, which have no common factor and satisfy a + b = c, exist, then d, the product of the distinct prime factors of abc, is rarely much smaller than c.

See, we said it was easy didn't we?

Mochizuki's work has taken four years, and runs to 500 pages; not only that, but he has created a new mathematical language to explain it, which means that peer-reviewing its accuracy may take some time. However, fellow mathematician Dorian Goldfield, has stated that, if proved, it would amount to "one of the most astounding achievements of mathematics in the 21st Century".

The problem was originally proposed in 1985 and, if Mochizuki has cracked it, it automatically leads to solutions for a great deal of related conditional proofs, including two conjectures related to Fermat (one of which is a conditional proof of his famous Last Theorem - albeit the general proof for this is already established).

Well, this is all well and good, but could he split the bill at a curry for over ten people, including a tip? That's the true test.

[View the papers at Mochizuki's website]

Image: Rex

Related

warb.png

Solved: The problem of spreading cold butter

jayz.jpg

Law professor studies '99 Problems' for legal accuracy

mortarbird1.jpg

Angry Birds used in Physics exam

Comments

More

Jeremy Corbyn overtakes Theresa May for first time in PM poll

Everything's coming up Corbyn

by Alex Finnis
23 Jun 2017

Some people aren't happy about Grenfell Tower survivors' new homes

Residents lost their homes just last week

by Tom Victor
22 Jun 2017

Boys turn up to school dressed in skirts to protest shorts ban

That's one way to do it

by Carl Anka
22 Jun 2017

The Daily Mail is hilariously losing its rag over a Guardian cartoon

They've gone full breakdown

by Dave Fawbert
22 Jun 2017

Similar cladding to Grenfell Tower being used on 600 other high rises

Sadiq Khan has called for all of it to be removed

by Dave Fawbert
22 Jun 2017

Lazy? Got a dog? You're going to want to see this genius trick

Yet another benefit of having a dog

by Carl Anka
22 Jun 2017

There's a 51% chance that people on dating sites are in a relationship

Plus more terrifying online dating stats

by Gary Ogden
22 Jun 2017

Boris Johnson giving an absolute car-crash interview on BBC radio

He's got no idea what he's on about

by Dave Fawbert
22 Jun 2017

Men are more likely than women to use their phones on the toilet

We hope you use wet wipes on your mobile...

by Carl Anka
22 Jun 2017

If this tick bites you, you become allergic to meat

This would truly suck

by Gary Ogden
22 Jun 2017