A collective effort to scrutinize one of the biggest mysteries in mathematics has ended with a few clues but no firm answers.
The mystery concerns an impenetrable but potentially groundbreaking proof of a puzzle known as the abc conjecture, which appeared online three years ago. Whether the proof is valid is still not clear—a source of frustration for some of the leading specialists who gathered at the University of Oxford on December 7–11 to discuss the matter.
Others say that the workshop, in which the proof’s reclusive architect Shinichi Mochizuki made a rare, virtual appearance, has at least boosted prospects for a resolution.
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