Math is hard, but solving this equation could earn you $1 million
Dallas banker Andy Beal is offering big bucks to anyone who finally solves the Beal Conjecture.
Thu, Jun 06, 2013 at 10:21 AM
If you ever thought math was too hard, maybe you were just missing the right motivation. Like a million dollars' worth of motivation.
Intrigued? Then sharpen your pencils. Texas banker, poker player and math aficionado is prepared to pay you $1 million. All you need to do is solve an equation that has perplexed mathematicians for the past few decades.
It's called the Beal Conjecture. It was inspired by the famous Fermat's Last Theorem, which took mathematicians 350 years to solve. Math fans have only had a few decades to work on Beal's Conjecture, but it's perplexed them just as much.
Beal's Conjecture goes like this, and Beal — who created the equation — says there are no solutions:
ax + by = cz
where A, B, C, x, y and z are positive integers and x, y and z are all greater than 2, then A, B and C must have a common prime factor. The challenge is to either solve that conjecture or come up with a counter-example.
Beal says he was inspired by the cash prizes that finally led to the solution for Fermat's Theorem. He first started low, offering just $5,000. Now, inspired by other prizes that offer much higher rewards, he has upped the ante. "I'd like to inspire young people to pursue math and science," he said in a press release from the American Mathematical Society, which is administering the prize. "Increasing the prize is a good way to draw attention to mathematics generally and the Beal Conjecture specifically. I hope many more young people will find themselves drawn into the wonderful world of mathematics."
Now, you can't just jot down a solution on a piece of paper and mail it in to win the Beal Prize. The winning solution must first be published in a well-respected, peer-reviewed mathematics journal. Even after that, the mathematics community needs two years to decide if the solution holds water, after which the solution will be evaluated by the Beal Prize Committee. But if you get through all of that, then the million bucks is yours.
So what do you say, is your calculator up to the challenge?
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