Andrew Wiles

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Sir Andrew John Wiles KBE FRS (born 11 April 1953)[1] is a British mathematician and a professor at Princeton University, specializing in number theory. He is most famous for proving Fermat's Last Theorem.

Contents

Early life and education

Andrew Wiles is the son of Maurice Frank Wiles (1923–2005), the Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford[2] and Patricia Wiles (née Mowll). His father worked as the Chaplain at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, for the years 1952-55. Wiles was born in Cambridge, England, in 1953, and he attended King's College School, Cambridge, and The Leys School, Cambridge.

Wiles discovered Fermat's Last Theorem on his way home from school when he was 10 years old. He stopped by his local library where he found a book about the theorem.[3] Puzzled by the fact that the statement of the theorem was so easy that he, a ten-year old, could understand it, he decided to be the first person to prove it. However, he soon realized that his knowledge of mathematics was too small, he abandoned his childhood dream, until 1986, when he heard that Ribet had proved Serre's ε-conjecture and therefore established a link between Fermat's Last Theorem and the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture.

Wiles earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1974 after his study at Merton College, Oxford, and a Ph.D. in 1980, after his research at Clare College, Cambridge.

After a stay at the Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey in 1981, Wiles became a professor at Princeton University. In 1985-86, Wiles was a Guggenheim Fellow at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques near Paris and at the École Normale Supérieure. From 1988 to 1990, Wiles was a Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford University, and then he returned to Princeton.

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