Sunday, May 12, 2013

In Which Mochizuki Does a Perelman

By Caroline Chen, a very nicely written, very readable introduction to the latest rumors in the circles of mathematicians - the bona fide drama queens of academia. 

Basically the scoop goes something like this: Shinichi Mochizuki, a brilliant and impossibly accomplished mathematician, now at Kyoto University (his webpage is here) has claimed to have proved a very deep result in Mathematics: the abc conjecture; but he refuses to talk about it to anyone or 'go on tour' and explain his proofs to the others. The work on which he bases his proofs has been posted by him on the internet but runs through about five hundred pages in length; and so when the others ask him to explain, he shrugs and declines the invitation, which makes him look super cool and super emo at the same time. It was reported that Akshay Venkatesh and a grad student at Yale had then found some error which Mochizuki acknowledged but corrected and reposted soon with no apparent danger of being wrong in the bigger scheme of things.

Here's to hoping Mochizuki-san has really nailed it! NF's been wrong before about opening champagne bottles prematurely (the last time it was the P versus NP problem's supposed proof by Vinay Deolalikar) but perhaps this time he'll be luckier.

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