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Possible Proof of ABC Conjecture 102

submeta writes "Shinichi Mochizuki of Kyoto University has released a paper which claims to prove the decades-old ABC conjecture, which involves the relationship between prime numbers, addition, and multiplication. His solution involves thinking of numbers not as members of sets (the standard interpretation), but instead as objects which exist in 'new, conceptual universes.' As one would expect, the proof is extremely dense and difficult to understand, even for experts in the field, so it may take a while to verify. However, Mochizuki has a strong reputation, so this is likely to get attention. Proof of the conjecture could potentially lead to a revolution in number theory, including a greatly simplified proof of Fermat's Last Theorem."
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Possible Proof of ABC Conjecture

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  • by exploder ( 196936 ) on Monday September 10, 2012 @07:28PM (#41294391) Homepage

    Nobody's measuring anyone's penis--the truth is a lot more boring (and reasonable) than that. Wikipedia is a fantastic first reference for working mathematicians or grad students--I'm sure nearly all math article editors are in these groups--who just want to quickly find out e.g. what the hell an "ultrafilter" is. And so the articles are written in a way that makes them most useful to the people who donate their time to produce them. It's not that any (non-douchebag) mathematician gets off on throwing around smart-sounding jargon. It's just that you can't actually do anything with "intuitive" descriptions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2012 @09:09PM (#41295157)

    No, you can't actually learn abstract mathematical ideas by basing your understanding on intuitive descriptions. If you think you have learned a concept that way, I can almost guarantee that your understanding is faulty. (I've learned this the hard way: I happen to be a mathematician who is particularly adept at providing comfortable metaphors that cause non-mathematicians to believe they've understood something when they really haven't.)

    For anyone with a suitable background (say, a first-year graduate student or better), Wikipedia's math articles are generally the best, most accurate and most comprehensive free source of basic mathematics information available. If you don't have that background, no article of any kind is going to be explain to what a "scheme" is, for example. To think so is as naive as believing that you can understand all the nuances of Baudelaire's poetry without learning French; you may think you learn something from a translation into your language, but you actually don't.

  • Re:linky whacky (Score:4, Insightful)

    by exploder ( 196936 ) on Monday September 10, 2012 @09:31PM (#41295335) Homepage

    Good question. Why don't you devote twenty years or so to becoming competent to judge, then spend all your time reading every crackpot's theory on trisecting angles or why pi isn't really transcendental, and let us know what you find out?

"I never let my schooling get in the way of my education." -- Mark Twain