A Texas billionaire banker is upping the ante to $1 million for whoever solves a tricky problem that’s been dogging mathematicians since the 1980s.
The American Mathematical Society on Tuesday said $1 million will be awarded for the publication of a solution to the Beal Conjecture number theory problem.
Dallas banker D. Andrew Beal first offered the Beal Prize in 1997 for $5,000. Over the years, the amount has grown.
American Mathematical Society spokesman Michael Breen says a solution is more difficult than the one for a related problem, Fermat’s Last Theorem, which didn’t have a published solution for hundreds of years.
Fermat's Last Theorem states that no three positive integers a, b, and c can satisfy the equation a^n + b^n = c^n for any integer value of n greater than two.
Beal's conjecture states that if A^x + B^y = C^z, where A, B, C, x, y, and z are positive integers with x, y, z > 2, then A, B, and C have a common prime factor.
Got all that? Well you'll need to prove or disprove it, and have your work published in a leading mathematics journal to claim your prize.
Beal is a self-taught mathematician and says he wants to inspire young people to pursue math and science. A university dropout, Beal's net worth is now estimated by Forbes at around $8 billion. He ranks 43rd on the Forbes list of U.S. billionaires.