Going beyond Fermat's last theorem
An Indian mathematician makes an astounding advance in number theory
Prof. Chandrashekhar Khare in Mumbai. - Photo: Paul Noronha
MUMBAI: An Indian mathematician, Chandrashekhar Khare, is poised to make a
significant breakthrough in the field of number theory: with his solution of
part of a major outstanding problem in algebraic number theory.
In a paper posted on the Mathematics Arxiv on the web in April 2005 and
subsequently sent for publication to a leading mathematics journal, the
37-year-old mathematician based at the University of Utah has proved what is
known to specialists in the field as the `level-1 case of the Serre
conjecture.' In earlier work done with the French mathematician, J.P.
Wintenberger, in December 2004, Dr. Khare outlined a two-part general
strategy to prove the Serre conjecture fully. The present result is a first
According to Professor Dipendra Prasad of the Department of Mathematics at
the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, the result is
"one of the outstanding results in recent times in this field." He added
that before the joint work of last year and Dr. Khare's current result, "it
was unclear to the experts in the field that the conjecture would become a
theorem in the near future." Before he moved to the United States in 2004 to
take up a position on the University of Utah faculty as Associate Professor,
Dr. Khare was on the TIFR faculty for nearly a decade.
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