Andrew Wiles

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Andrew Wiles : biography

11 April 1953 –

Public honours

  • The asteroid 9999 Wiles was named for Wiles in 1999.
  • Wiles was appointed to the rank of Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the United Kingdom in 2000.

Mathematical career

Wiles earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1974 after his study at Merton College, Oxford, and a Ph.D. in 1980, after his research at Clare College, Cambridge. After a stay at the Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey in 1981, Wiles became a professor at Princeton University. In 1985–86, Wiles was a Guggenheim Fellow at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques near Paris and at the École Normale Supérieure. From 1988 to 1990, Wiles was a Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford University, and then he returned to Princeton. He rejoined Oxford in 2011 as Royal Society Research Professor.

Wiles’s graduate research was guided by John Coates beginning in the summer of 1975. Together these colleagues worked on the arithmetic of elliptic curves with complex multiplication by the methods of Iwasawa theory. He further worked with Barry Mazur on the main conjecture of Iwasawa theory over the rational numbers, and soon afterward, he generalized this result to totally real fields.

Notes

Recognition by the media

His proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem has stood up to the scrutiny of the world’s mathematical experts. Wiles was interviewed for an episode of the BBC documentary series Horizon that focused on Fermat’s Last Theorem. This was renamed "The Proof", and it was made an episode of the Public Broadcasting Service’s science television series Nova. He has been a foreign member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences since 1996. He remains a citizen of the United Kingdom.

Awards

Wiles has been awarded several major prizes in mathematics and science:

  • Junior Whitehead Prize of the LMS (1988)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society (1989)
  • Schock Prize (1995)
  • Fermat Prize (1995)
  • Wolf Prize (1995/6)
  • NAS Award in Mathematics from the National Academy of Sciences (1996) July 1996
  • Royal Medal (1996)
  • Ostrowski Prize (1996) June 1996 1998
  • Cole Prize (1997)
  • Wolfskehl Prize (1997) October 1997 – see Paul Wolfskehl
  • A silver plaque from the International Mathematical Union (1998) recognizing his achievements, in place of the Fields Medal, which is restricted to those under 40 (Wiles was born in 1953 and proved the theorem in 1994) August 28, 1998
  • King Faisal Prize (1998)
  • Clay Research Award (1999)
  • Pythagoras Award (Croton, 2004)
  • Shaw Prize (2005) September 2005