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Friday 31 March 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# thinking cap
If you can solve this maths sum, a Texas banker will give you one million dollars
Time to dig out that Leaving Cert maths book.

A TEXAS BANKER is upping the ante to $1 million (around €762,000)  for whoever solves a tricky problem that’s been dogging mathematicians since the 1980s.

The American Mathematical Society said this week that the $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.

Beal is a self-taught mathematician and says he wants to inspire young people to pursue math and science.

The Beal Conjecture says that the only solutions to the equation Ax + By = Cz, when A, B and C are positive integers and x,y and z are also positive integers greater than 2, are those in which A, and C have a common factor.

For example, 33 + 63 = 35, but the numbers that are the bases have a common factor of 3, so the equation does not disprove the theory; it is not a counter example.

- Additional reporting by Christine Bohan

Read: State exams in numbers: 13 days, 6,000 examiners and 38 million A4 pages >

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Column: Is mathematical ability just something you’re born with? >

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