Math in the News
Ordinary Axioms Suffice to Prove Fermat's Last Theorem
Colin McLarty of Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University has proven that the subset of set theory called finite-order arithmetic provides an axiomatic foundation sufficient for proof of Fermat's Last Theorem.
Andrew Wiles's 1994 proof of Pierre de Fermat's famous statement drew heavily on algebraic geometry, the foundation for which was laid in the mid 20th-century by Alexander Grothendieck. Since Grothendieck's work relied on an axiom not among those of standard mathematics, Wiles's proof did, too.
Many mathematicians, however, felt that proving Fermat's Last Theorem ought not to require such extreme measures, and now McLarty has proven them correct.
He says of the results he presented at the 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings: "This justifies a feeling that lots of people had and I had too."
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