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Topic: Open problems/puzzles that can make you a rich man
Replies: 1   Last Post: Apr 8, 2011 12:23 PM

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Craig Feinstein

Posts: 398
Registered: 12/13/04
Re: Open problems/puzzles that can make you a rich man
Posted: Apr 8, 2011 12:23 PM
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On Apr 8, 11:14 am, Peter <> wrote:
> There are 6 remaining millennium problems worth 1 million dollars
> each.
> Between 2000 and 2002 Faber & Faber offered the same amount of money
> for proof or disproof of Goldbach conjecture (by the way: why did they
> cancel their offer in 2002 - were they afraid someone might solve
> problem and they'd actually have to pay the money if they waited
> longer?)
> There were Eternity and Eternity II puzzles, solutions to which were
> worth 1 million pounds and 2 million dollars respectively.
> What about the rest?
> There must be many more opportunities to make serious money by solving
> mathematical problems. Could you list some of them (with the amount of
> money offered for solution)? I'm interested in both "scientific" (open
> problems) and recreational (puzzles, riddles, online games maybe)
> mathematics, I'm not interested in gambling.

There are at least two types of math problems:

1) Solve something.
2) Prove something.

While ideally, 1) and 2) are the same thing, practically speaking they
are not.

1) is like the Eternity puzzle, where the proposed solution can be
checked easily. There is no debate as to whether or not a proposed
solution is correct.

However, 2) is subject to debate. For instance, it took the
mathematics a few years to decide whether the proof of the Poincare
conjecture is valid. Because of this, it is not wise to try to prove
something for money. Do it for your own curiosity. That is the real
reason pure mathematics research is done anyway.


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