Maths Week | 15 – 19 March 2021 | Day 1
To animate Maths Week, your teachers are offering one story a day about an aspect of Maths you probably do not know…yet!
Today, the millennium problems, or how to make a million dollars without leaving your room.
The Millennium Prize Problems
In August 1900, at an International Congress, David Hilbert, a German mathematician and top model for hats, proposed a list of 23 problems that mathematicians had previously failed to solve.
These problems would, according to Hilbert, contribute to the progress of mathematics and, incidentally, to the glory of anyone who would be able to solve them. Many mathematicians in search of fame tackled Hilbert's problems.
At the dawn of the 19th century, the majority of the problems had been solved. On May 24, 2000, the Clay Mathematics Institute attempted to revive the franchise with a sequel: the 7 Millennium Problems.
As promises of glory are a bit old-fashioned nowadays, the institute instead promised a million-dollar reward for solving each of the seven problems.
That may sound like a lot: a million dollars for a math exercise, but in fact it is not, it is probably not enough… To date, only one of the seven has been solved, by a mathematician who refused the reward! Let’s get back to the subject later on...
That makes me laugh.
(but I am a Maths teacher…)