Six months after Shinichi Mochizuki of Kyoto University in Japan released his 500-page proof of the abc conjecture, that vetting process has yet to occur.
But this time, no one except Mochizuki
seems to have any glimmering of how his
It is so peculiar that mathematicians might have dismissed it as the work of a crank, except that Mochizuki
is known as a deep thinker with a record of strong results.
Also, they really hope he
In August, when Mochizuki
released the four papers explaining his
proof, a number of mathematicians dove into them eagerly.
But they couldn't even understand his
had built an entirely new mathematical field, one he
named "inter-universal Teichmüller geometry," and populated it with objects no one had ever heard of: "anabelioids," "Frobenoids," "NF-Hodge theaters.
Mathematicians began clamoring for Mochizuki
to explain the kernel of his
ideas, but he
I suspect that this is the psychology of the situation for Mochizuki
said what he
wanted to say in the paper."
has, however, been happy to answer specific questions by e-mail.
And recently he
released a "panoramic overview," though many mathematicians find it nearly as impenetrable as the full proof.
Rumors circulated that some of the leading figures in the field had become skeptical of the proof.
Out of respect for Mochizuki
- and hope that his
proof will, in the end, turn out to be right - an effort was made to keep these rumors from circulating on the Internet, and no mathematician would go on the record expressing them.
Still, the rumors have further dampened enthusiasm for the hard work of slogging through the four papers.
Hope rests on a couple of Japanese mathematicians believed to be talking through the proof with Mochizuki
, but they are unwilling to talk to the press.
"What we need is for this stuff to exist in someone else's brain besides [Mochizuki's].