I had this rare privilege of being able to pursue in my adult life, what had been my childhood dream.
The definition of a good mathematical problem is the mathematics it generates rather than the problem itself.
However impenetrable it seems, if you don't try it, then you can never do it.
I hope that seeing the excitement of solving this problem will make young mathematicians realize that there are lots and lots of other problems in mathematics which are going to be just as challenging in the future.
The greatest problem for mathematicians now is probably the Riemann Hypothesis.
I grew up in Cambridge in England, and my love of mathematics dates from those early childhood days.
Pure mathematicians just love to try unsolved problems - they love a challenge.
I don't believe Fermat had a proof. I think he fooled himself into thinking he had a proof.
There's also a sense of freedom. I was so obsessed by this problem that I was thinking about if all the time - when I woke up in the morning, when I went to sleep at night, and that went on for eight years.
Some mathematics problems look simple, and you try them for a year or so, and then you try them for a hundred years, and it turns out that they're extremely hard to solve. There's no reason why these problems shouldn't be easy, and yet they turn out to be extremely intricate.
It's fine to work on any problem, so long as it generates interesting mathematics along the way - even if you don't solve it at the end of the day.
Mathematicians aren't satisfied because they know there are no solutions up to four million or four billion, they really want to know that there are no solutions up to infinity.
Always try the problem that matters most to you.
I really believed that I was on the right track, but that did not mean that I would necessarily reach my goal.
We've lost something that's been with us for so long, and something that drew a lot of us into mathematics. But perhaps that's always the way with math problems, and we just have to find new ones to capture our attention.
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