Are you good at math? Are you really good at math?
If so, you now have an opportunity to earn $1 million. All you have to do is solve a math puzzle that has gone unanswered since a prize was first offered 1997: The Beal Conjecture.
The AMS announced today that the prize for the solution to the Beal Conjecture, a number theory problem, has been increased to US$1 million. The prize and conjecture are named for D. Andrew “Andy” Beal, a Dallas banker who has a strong interest in number theory and who provided the funds for the Beal Prize.
The Beal Conjecture states that the only solutions to the equation Ax + By = Cz, when A, B, C, are positive integers, and x, y, and z are positive integers greater than 2, are those in which A, B, and C have a common factor. By way of example, 33 + 63 = 35, but the numbers that are the bases have a common factor of 3, so the equation does not disprove the theorem; it is not a counterexample.
The truth of the Beal Conjecture implies Fermat's Last Theorem, which states that there are no solutions to the equation an + bn = cn where a, b, and c are positive integers and n is a positive integer greater than 2. More than three hundred years ago, Pierre de Fermat claimed he had a proof but did not leave a record of it. The theorem was finally proved in the 1990s by Andrew Wiles, together with Richard Taylor. Both the Beal Conjecture and Fermat's Last Theorem are typical of many statements in number theory: easy to say, but extremely difficult to prove.
Andy Beal first established the prize for a solution to the Beal Conjecture in 1997. To date, no correct solution to the problem has been found. The current funding is an increase from the previously funded amount of $100,000.
“I was inspired by the prize offered for proving Fermat,” said Mr. Beal, a self-taught mathematician with an interest in number theory. “I'd like to inspire young people to pursue math and science. Increasing the prize is a good way to draw attention to mathematics generally and the Beal Conjecture specifically. I hope many more young people will find themselves drawn into the wonderful world of mathematics."
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