Andrew Wiles Biography Essay Examples & Outline

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Andrew Wiles Biography

Andrew Wiles were born in a family of academicians in 1953. His father was a professor of divinity working in Oxford University. The background of the mathematician led to the development of more interest in the studies. He was an excellent student in all the subjects. However, he developed more interests in mathematics from a tender age (Aczel, 1-52). To Andrew Wiles, mathematics was more than a subject or a requirement for the success in the classwork. To him, mathematics was more of a hobby (Apostol, 36). He loved the challenges that came with the subject.

He could complete all his homework to formulate new mathematical problems that he later solved. Being able to work on the mathematical issues was a source of satisfaction for the young mathematician. Being able to work on the problems also developed the research interest in him whereby it later formed the foundation of the research work and interests. He started his research on the mathematic problems by renting out books in the neighboring library. He used the books to find new problems. Most often, he used to look for the problems that were above his grade level. His preparedness in the mathematics field led to constantly excelling. The continued success of the young student cemented the interest and love of the student in the subject.

Early education

Wiles rented out books on Fermat theorem from the library more often than other books. The dedication to the understanding of the theorem led to the understanding of the concepts that formed the foundation of the assertion. The Fermat theorem was representative of a mathematic problem that had never been solved for over 300 years (Apostol, 36). The young student focused on how to improve on the theorem. He was only ten years when he started evaluating the issue. However, he was confident enough to provide his insights on the solution to the problem. He owned up the problem and sought out ways of solving it in the most optimal manner. He focused on the creation of the solution to the problem regardless of the tender age and the limited level of mathematical knowledge that he had acquired in the short time he had been in the school. He supposed that the solution to the problem would be arrived at in an easy way.

However, the research and all the efforts that he had invested in the solution of the problem were indicative that the opposite was true regarding the issue. He acknowledged that the problem needed more learning and understanding. Therefore, he understood that he needed to find new sources of knowledge that would enable him find the optimal solution to the problem actual solution to the problem need more understanding of other mathematic concepts that he did not have at the age (Apostol, 36).

His pursuit of the solution and the commitment to come up with the right solution to the issue later led to the acknowledgement of the need for other concepts of mathematics it also led to the understanding that the mathematics concepts were interconnected. Therefore, mathematical thinking had to assume a holistic approach (Aczel, 24-45). More importantly, it sowed the initial seeds of desire to pursue mathematics in the high levels of learning. The idea led to the creation of a lifetime commitment to the understanding of mathematics in order to provide solutions to similar issues.

In the formal education system, he was a constant performer in the common subjects required at his level of learning. He performed at an above average level in the rest of the subjects. In mathematics, he performed at consistently excellent level (Aczel, 142). His commitment to the discipline and the ability to challenge himself to do better in something that had defeated many mathematicians is indicative of the level of self-efficacy that young Wiles displayed. His dedication to excellence in mathematics was the main reason for his continued success in the class work relating to the same subject (Kleiner, 19-37).

Being able to live on the university campus also contributed to his budding of interest in the subject since he could meet with bright people who were willing to help him in his quest for better understanding of the theorem ('Invitation To The Mathematics Of Fermat-Wiles', 1). The staff at the local library also helped in the expansion of more understanding on the same issue. Their accommodating approach to the young researcher and willingness to assist him in finding what he needed to read in order to excel in mathematics and other disciplines helped in the growth of a more adept understanding of the subject matter. Their assistance in the initial research stages helped in the location and understanding of literature on the subject matter. They also helped in the development of the researching techniques (Apostol, 36).

Therefore, the environment in which he spent his formative years contributed to the budding of interest in mathematics and research. Support from his family was also a vital contributor to the mathematical interest. His father, who was a humanity professor, did not fault the decision of his son to pursue mathematics (Singh, 56). He did not attempt to push him towards his discipline. On the contrary, he tried to understand the interest of his son even when it was difficult to decipher what he was talking about. His moral support and encouragement contributed to the outcome of the young mathematician (Apostol, 36).

Later education

Andrew Wiles attended King's College School in Cambridge during his childhood. He proceeded to Merton College for his Bachelor’s Degree majoring in his favorite subject of mathematics. He received his Ph.D. in the same area of study in 1980. He conducted his postgraduate research at Clare College.


Andre received an offer from Princeton University for an associate professorship. He took the position from 1981 to 1985 when Guggenheim appointed hams as a fellow. He worked in Paris for Guggenheim. He proceeded to Oxford in 1988 to work as a research professor in 1988 to 1990. He went back to Princeton as a tutor until 2011 after which he returned to Oxford.

Fermat last theorem

Andrew focused on his studies in line with his commitment to finding new knowledge that would help him solve the problem. At the age of 33, he felt that he had attained the needed knowledge to start working on the theorem once again ('Invitation To The Mathematics Of Fermat-Wiles', 1). He embarked on the research once again from 1986 to 1993. He found a solution to the problem and presented the proof to the public in the same year he had completed working on the theorem.

However, his first proof had an issue that made it inadmissible to the public. Working on the theorem had proved to be a journey marked with setbacks. He worked hard on the theorem to find the source of the problem. He reworked on the theory in the months after the issue in the proof was identified. He worked on the creation of a more in-depth understanding of the issue at hand. He later arrived at the solution to the error in his initial proof in 1994. His commitment to the proof rectification and the solution to the theorem led to the final success. Various inquests into the theorem indicated that the most famous mathematicians were not capable of finding any fault in the proof of the theorem.

Finally, his commitment to the theorem paid off since after publication of the proof; he was now famous. He had completed an inquest that he set out to do in his formative years, and the inquest had finally paid off. His contributions had led to the discovery of the solution to a problem that defeated even the brightest mathematicians in the history for three hundred years. His contributions to the finding of the proof of the theorem are important in the Mathematical discipline. He increased the value of the study of the annals of mathematics by finding the proof of the Fermat theorem.

Awards and distinctions

There are numerous inquests in the process that he used in coming up with the proof of the theorem. Most of the interviewers ask him about his motivations and challenges in finding the proof. They also ask about the source of the error in the initial proof. He has a permanent membership in the prestigious United States National Academy of Sciences. He also has numerous recognition and awards such as the Schlock Award of 1995, King Faisal Award of 1998, Pythagoras Award of 2004 and Shaw Award of 2005.

Work cited

Aczel, Amir D. Fermat's Last Theorem. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1996. Print.
Apostol, Tom M. 'Ode To Andrew Wiles, Kbe'. The Mathematical Intelligencer 22.4 (2000): 36-36. Web.
'Invitation To The Mathematics Of Fermat-Wiles'. Choice Reviews Online 39.11 (2002): 39-6474-39-6474. Web.
Kleiner, Israel. 'From Fermat To Wiles: Fermat's Last Theorem Becomes A Theorem'. Elem. Math. 55.1 (2000): 19-37. Web.
Singh, Simon. Fermat's Enigma. New York: Walker, 1997. Print.