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The biggest mystery in mathematics: Shinichi Mochizuki and the impenetrable proof

A Correction to this article was published on 21 October 2015

This article has been updated

A Japanese mathematician claims to have solved one of the most important problems in his field. The trouble is, hardly anyone can work out whether he's right.

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  • 07 October 2015

    An earlier version of this story incorrectly located the University of Antwerp in the Netherlands. It is in Belgium. The text has been updated.

  • 15 October 2015

    An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Shinichi Mochizuki estimated that it would take an expert 500 hours to understand his proof. In fact, this was Ivan Fesenko’s estimate. The story also stated that Fesenko warned Mochizuki against speaking to the press, but this was not part of their discussion. The text has been modified accordingly.


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Alexander Grothendieck (1928–2014) 2015-Jan-14

First proof that infinitely many prime numbers come in pairs 2013-May-14

Proof claimed for deep connection between primes 2012-Sep-10

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“IUT Theory of Shinichi Mochizuki” Clay Mathematics Institute workshop

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Castelvecchi, D. The biggest mystery in mathematics: Shinichi Mochizuki and the impenetrable proof. Nature 526, 178–181 (2015).

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