Place your bets in sum wager

May 10, 1996

So Chris Ormell thinks he has a proof of the Fermat Theorem (Don's Diary, THES, April 26) and is prepared to offer Pounds 100 to anyone who finds a mistake.

Well, I have not got time to find his error but I will bet him Pounds 100 to his Pounds 100 that he cannot get it published in a reputable mathematics journal within a year. So in the unlikely event that he obtains by May 1 1997 a letter of acceptance of his manuscript from Professor Walter Feit, editor in chief of the Journal of Algebra, Yale University, PO Box 208283, New Haven, Conn, US, I will pay him Pounds 100, otherwise I get his Pounds 100.

I have chosen the Journal of Algebra because I have absolutely no connection with it whatsoever, but if Dr Ormell is not happy with that choice I will accept any reputable mathematical journal suggested by The THES (I would not trust any publication suggested by Dr Ormell).

I suggest the editor of The THES hold our stake money and I look forward to my Pounds 100 next year.

Roger Fenn (Editor of the Journal of the London Mathematical Society) Reader in Mathematics University of Sussex

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