Another Forgotten Bet: Is Don Zagier About to Owe Me 1000 Shekels For The Proof of the ABC Conjecture?

zagier     mochizuki

Like everybody else I heard with great interest the news about the attempted solution of the ABC conjecture by Shinichi Mochizuki. (See, e.g.,  herehere, here, and here.) I did not think that this has much to with me until I discovered yesterday in my room the following remarkable document from 1999.


A bet

If the ABC conjecture is proved Professor Zagier will pay G. Kalai 1000 (one thousand)  Isreali Shekels. Professor Zagier received 1 shekel in advance from G. Kalai.

Signed August 31, 1999, Tel Aviv

Don Zagier

ABC conjecture: a+b+c=0_{(a,b)=1}\Rightarrow\prod_{p |abc}p\gg_{\epsilon}c^{1-\epsilon}

Witnesses:  Noga Alon  Laszló Lovász


Amazing! I almost forgot about the whole thing, but now all left to say is:

Go  Shinichi  Go!


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8 Responses to Another Forgotten Bet: Is Don Zagier About to Owe Me 1000 Shekels For The Proof of the ABC Conjecture?

  1. vznvzn says:

    also rooting for shinichi but have some reservations summed up by this post “the abc conjecture has not been proved” by “mathbabe”, a colorful semioutsider/pseudonymous commentary. also interested in any other running commentary if anyone has heard anything.

    • Torrence Florbald says:

      @vznvzn, not sure why you think mathbabe is pseudonymous — every post is signed with her real name. She is a number theorist who formerly was a professor at Columbia, and has now gone into industry.

    • Cynicism says:

      The points made in Mathbabe’s post are absolutely NOT reasons to have reservations about the correctness of the claimed proof. They are rather thoughts on the notion of proof and what proof means. Personally I have not spent the time to verify if the proof is correct or not, and the fact that no one has been willing to spend that time is kind of the point of Mathbabe’s post.

      • vznvzn says:

        think you are missing the point of her post somewhat. there are two styles of research; its a continuum. one is very isolated, attempted to be revolutionary, and running off into the wild blue yonder with many new ideas with nobody following close behind. another is very incrementalist. theres a tradeoff between these two styles [terry tao has a great blog on tihs]. mochizuki is at the former extreme. and yes, its a high[er] risk area because partly what makes math progress is verification (or “replication”) by the community, which in mochizuki’s case is much more difficult this stage. community review of it is now like a snake trying to swallow a very large meal…. and how many months has it been since he announced his proof?

  2. As someone who seriously lacks the expertise to read the series of papers, I’m more like, “Go, whoever checking his proof, go!”

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