Monday, June 21, 2004

A Serendipitous Discovery

A fellow who goes under the name Woit led me to this article by Barry Mazur in April's Bulletin of the AMS. To show what's so fascinating about it, I'll let Woit's own words do the talking:

It brings together ideas about elliptic curves and deformations of Galois representations that were used by Wiles to prove Fermat's last theorem, mirror symmetry, quantization, non-commutative geometry and much more. I'm not convinced it all hangs together, but it's a wonderful piece of expository writing.
If that isn't fascinating, I don't know that anything is. In fact, I could scarcely have imagined that all these things had much to do with each other, much in the same way, I suppose, as it struck me as farfetched on first learning about the GUE Hypothesis.

For someone with a background in pure mathematics, and whose interests have always lain in a branch long thought the least practical of all, it's always a pleasure to discover possible new deep and meaningful links between number theory and the physical world.


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