The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has awarded the 2016 Abel Prize to Professor Sir Andrew Wiles, University of Oxford, ‘for his stunning proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem by way of the modularity conjecture for semi-stable elliptic curves, opening a new era in number theory’.Wiles will receive his award from His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon at the University of Oslo on 24th May 2016.
Wiles is one of very few mathematicians – if not the only one – whose proof of a theorem has made international headline news. In 1994 he solved Fermat’s Last Theorem, which at the time was the most famous, and long-running, unsolved problem in the subject’s history.
His proof was not only the high point of his career but also the culmination of a remarkable personal journey that began three decades earlier. Wiles recalls that he was intrigued by the problem that he as a young boy could understand, and yet it had remained unsolved for three hundred years. ‘I knew from that moment that I would never let it go’, he said. ‘I had to solve it’. The Abel Committee said: ‘Few results have as rich a mathematical history and as dramatic a proof as Fermat’s Last Theorem’.
Sir Andrew was awarded an LMS Whitehead Prize in 1988 and was elected an Honorary Member of the LMS in 2001.
On behalf of the LMS, and the UK mathematical community more broadly, Professor Simon Tavaré FRS, the President of the LMS, congratulates Sir Andrew on his remarkable achievements that have led to the 2016 Abel Prize.
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