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The Greatest Discovery in Maths

  1. Nov 25, 2005 #1
    Application interviews are comming up and it is always good to prepare for the question: "What is the most important discovery in mathematics (in modern time?), according to your oppinion?"

    Is it the RSA-algorithm? Gödels Incompleteness theorem? The proof of Fermat's last theorem?

    What do you maths-folk think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 25, 2005 #2
    as simple as this will sound, i would have to say the concept of zero. zero was not a part of math for a long time. from what i heard/understand it was the aztecs or the incas that came up with the concept of zero/nothing.
  4. Nov 25, 2005 #3
    Differential calculus come to mind.
  5. Nov 25, 2005 #4

    matt grime

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    Surely it is your opinion that counts at interview, and not someone else's? As it is I would not expect an incoming undergraduate to be able to give me a sensible answer to that question, since it is stupid to do so.

    Instead I would look for motivated, interested people. People who can remember what they did in last week's class and who can cope with being given new material to digest on the spot.
  6. May 10, 2011 #5
    Integration by First Principle Cracked

    For example if we have dy/dx = 2x
    dy + y = 2x(dx + x)
    y = 2xdx + 2x^2 - dy
    y = 2xdx + 2x^2 - 2xdx
    y = 2x^2
    y = x^2
  7. May 10, 2011 #6


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    I don't think it's our opinion that counts here. The interviewer will be looking for your interests you and what knowledge you have. Repeating from what you've heard won't benefit you, I think...

    Anyway, one of the greatest discoveries in math is algebraic geometry by Grothendieck. This is really a marvelous piece of work...
  8. May 10, 2011 #7


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    Hopefully the original poster managed to form his/her own opinion in the six years since he/she posted this thread. ;)
  9. May 10, 2011 #8


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    This is a huge milestone achievement. Keeping information secure is very important. Large numbers are difficult to factor, and being able to take advantage of this makes the RSA cryptosystem very powerful.
  10. May 10, 2011 #9
    If you want to be current, this is a pretty big discovery, the implications of which have yet, IMHO, to be fully recognized or appreciated, much less understood (I don't exclude myself...)...

    Ken Ono cracks partition number mystery

    Just consider that the number of factorizations of prime powers is a partition number and so too the number of conjugacy classes of the symmetric group S_n. Now there is a clear bridge between these and the study of fractals.

    EDIT: Of course, you would have had to be psychic to know that over 5 years ago...
  11. May 11, 2011 #10


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    Please note that this thread is 5.5yrs old. The OP is long gone.

    Necrothread locked.
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