FOM: Re the proof of FLT

Adrian Mathias amathias at
Mon Feb 9 11:45:12 EST 1998

Perhaps I might here voice the disquiet felt in certain circles 
over the omission of the name of Richard Taylor in connection with 

I (who am no expert in number theory) understand the sequence of events 
to be this: 

1. Gerhardt Frey sketches a possible reduction of FLT to the TSC. 

2. Ribet turns Frey's scenario into a proof. 

3. Wiles produces a "proof" of the requisite special case of TSC 
which is found to be incomplete. 

4. Wiles and Taylor, using an approach previously discarded by Wiles, 
find a new argument which supplants the faulty section of Wiles' 
previous work and finally establishes the truth of FLT.   

The remark I have heard attributed to a number theorist of great 
distinction involved in this area is that without Taylor, Wiles 
would still be pacing his attic floor in Princeton. 

A. R. D. Mathias
Sanford Professor of Mathematical Logic, 
Universidad de los Andes, 
Santa Fe de Bogota, 

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