Want to be America’s — or the world’s — next millionaire? All you have to do is to solve the Beal Conjecture, and get it published in a respectable peer-reviewed-journal.
Sounds easy, right? But, before you break out your calculators and start punching in numbers and letters, you should know that Andrew Beal first posited the Beal Conjecture in 1997. No one in 16 years has managed to claim the prize yet, though there have been some attempts made.
Who is Andrew Beal and what is behind his idea for a mathematics contest?
Beal is a billionaire businessman from Dallas, Texas, who is also a mathematics aficionado.
The money which he originally offered if anyone could solve the Beal Conjecture was $5,000. That was in 1997. In the year 2000, Beal upped the ante to $100,000.
Then, just today, the American Mathematical Society (AMS) announced that Andrew Beal has raised the amount of money for his number-theory prize to $1 million.
Possibly, Beal wanted to make the mathematical world sit up and take notice. Or, maybe he wanted to drive home the point that the Beal Conjecture is just as challenging and as important and the Beal Prize is and just as prestigious as any of the Millennium Prizes that the Clay Mathematics Institute offers.
The Millennium Prizes were announced in 2000. To earn a cool $1 million, you can also solve one of the seven extremely difficult mathematical problems involved with obtaining one of the Millennium Prizes. If you’re feeling ambitious, why not go for all seven?
Take heart in the fact that one of the problems has been solved. However, the man who performed this prodigious feat of mathematical skill did not accept his prize.
What is the Beal Conjecture?
It is related to Fermat’s Last Theorem, which everyone knows states that Ax + Bx = Cx has no solution if A, B and Care positive integers and x is an integer greater than 2.
Fermat’s Last Theorem is named after a lawyer named Pierre de Fermat. During the seventeenth century, Fermat claimed to have a proof for this statement. If he actually ever did have such a proof, it was lost to history.
Finally, in 1995, the proof we know today was published by mathematicians Andrew Wiles and Richard Taylor.
Beal’s equation is similar: Ax + By = Cz.
He posited that if A, B, C, x,y and z are positive integers greater than 2, then A, B, and C must share a common factor. In other words, they must all be divisible by the same number.
The truth of the Beal Conjecture implies that of Fermat’s Last Theorem, but not vice versa.
Have you solved the Beal Conjecture yet?
If so, to claim your $1 million dollars, your solution must be published in a “respected” peer-reviewed journal and reviewed by an AMS committee.
Searching for counter-examples won’t be enough to claim the prize; others have already tried doing that. Also, some have tried using simpler math or computer programs to aid them, but none of these methods have worked — so far.
Will YOU be the one to finally solve the Beal Conjecture and win the $1 million?
Written by: Douglas Cobb