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A new statistical model appears to undermine long-held assumptions in number theory. How much should it be trusted when all that really matters is proof?
Two mathematicians have found what they say is a hole at the heart of a proof that has convulsed the mathematics community for nearly six years.
In math, sometimes the most common things are the hardest to find.
The mathematician Caucher Birkar was born on a subsistence farm and raised in the middle of the brutal war between Iran and Iraq. After fleeing to England, he has gone on to impose order on a wild landscape of mathematical equations.
Voevodsky’s friends remember him as constitutionally unable to compromise on the truth — a quality that led him to produce some of the most important mathematics of the 20th century.