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Andrew Wiles
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Mathematician
    (April 11, 1953- )
    Born in Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
    Professor of mathematics at Princeton University
    Proved Fermat's Last Theorem (x^n + y^n = z^n has no non-zero integer solutions for n>2) in 1994
    Because he was worried about someone else building on his work to prove Fermat's Last Theorem and win the credit, he worked in secret for seven years.
    In order to conceal what he was working on, he took a major piece of research he had completed and published it in bits, releasing minor papers every six months.
    He initially planned to check his proof more thoroughly, but decided to announce his proof at a mathematics conference being held in his hometown of Cambridge (June, 1993).
    The proof he presented was found to have a significant flaw.
    After an additional year of work, he was able to correct the problem and finally prove Fermat's Last Theorem.
    He presented his revised proof to his wife Nada on her birthday, and noted, 'I think she liked that present better than any other I had ever given her.'
    He solved one of math's most enduring problems.
    In the course of proving Fermat's Last Theorem, he also proved the Shimura-Taniyama Conjecture, which many mathematicians felt was a more useful achievement.

Credit: C. Fishel


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