Infinity war: The ongoing battle over the world’s hardest maths proof

Mathematics paper

Is there an error in there somewhere?

AP/Press Association Images

It’s the stuff of Hollywood. Somebody somewhere is surely selling the movie rights to what’s become the biggest spat in maths: a misunderstood genius, a 500-page proof almost nobody can understand and a supporting cast squabbling over what it all means. At stake: nothing less than the future of pure mathematics.

In 2012, Shinichi Mochizuki at Kyoto University in Japan produced a proof of a long-standing problem called the ABC conjecture. Six years later the jury is still out on whether it’s correct. But …

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