This morning I gave an announcement in assembly on why I think everyone should join the Math Team: Everest, Enlightenment, and Cash!
Everest, enlightenment, and cash
Who wants to see the hardest math problem in the world?
What if I told you everyone in this room could understand the problem?
Let’s get warmed up.
Who can tell me the answer to any of these questions?
If you had a calculator, could you solve them all?
3,4,5 and 5,12,13 and 7,24,25 are called Pythagorean Triples. How many of them do you think there are?
More than a millennium ago, people started looking for other triples… for higher powered triples with all positive integers. Solutions to equations like these:
As hard as people searched, no one could seemingly find any. But not finding something doesn’t mean it’s not necessarily there. So people kept searching… and searching.
Are you ready to see the hardest math problem in the world?
In 1637 Pierre de Fermat wrote in the margins of a famous book called Arithmetica that he had a proof but it was too large to fit into the margin.
Mathematicians kept looking for a proof. For 50 years, for 100 years… for 300 years.
The search ended in 358 years later in 1995 when Andrew Wiles, a professor at Princeton, completed a proof.
Why? What’s the value? Why did Andrew Wiles devote 7 years of his life to solving a problem that had fascinated him since the age of 10?
Everest: The tallest mountain in the world of math was THERE.
Enlightenment: In the process of creating his proof, Andrew Wiles created who new fields of math that help us understand how the Universe works.
Cash: He has been awarded a tremendous amount of money for his proof. In fact, in 2000, the Clay Institute named seven “Millennium Problems”. A correct solution to any one of the problems results in a $1,000,000 prize. At of today, six of the problems remain unsolved.
If you have any interest in climbing Everest, finding enlightenment, and becoming rich, then….
Join the math team.
2/17: Anyone can show up to participate in the New England Math League. After 4 rounds we are holding a very strong 23rd place out of all 141 teams in New England, and 14 out of 80 in MA. No sign up is necessary. Just show up!
2/22: Come to New York City with us! We have a couple spots left on our bus! Sign up right here!
2/25: Sign up to compete in the American Mathematics Competition. This is the first level competition to find the team that will represent the United States in the International Math Olympiad. Sign up right here!
Remember, you can have it all: Everest, Enlightenment, and Cash.