General Academic Building, Room 104, Refreshments served at 3:30pm
Ken Ribet
University of California, Berkeley
Abstract
Most of us have encountered the Fibonacci sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5,... but know very
little about the 13th century mathematician Fibonacci. Some eight hundred years ago,
he wrote "The book of squares", a treatise about the numbers 1, 4, 9, 16, 25,....
Fibonacci was fascinated by triads of perfect squares like 1, 25, 49, where the middle
number is the average of the two others. The study of these triads leads to open problems
in mathematics that are illuminated by a fundamental conjecture involving cubic curves.
Bio
Ken Ribet is Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned
his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brown University, and his PhD from Harvard
University. Ken works in algebraic number theory and arithmetic geometry. He is known
for several marquee results in number theory. In particular, the proof of Fermat’s
Last Theorem relies crucially on Ribet's proof of the "Epsilon Conjecture" in the
late 1980s.
Ken was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1997 and the US National
Academy of Sciences in 2000. He was awarded the Fermat Prize in 1989 and received
an honorary PhD from Brown University in 1998. He received the Brouwer medal from
the Royal Dutch Mathematical Society (KWG) in 2017. Ken served as President of the
American Mathematical Society between 2017 and 2019 and recently completed a three-year
term on the Council of the US National Academy of Sciences.