Andrew Wiles
Sir Andrew John Wiles KBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 FRS (born 11 April 1953) is a British mathematician
A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

 and a Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 Research Professor at Oxford University, specializing in number theory
Number theory
Number theory is a branch of pure mathematics devoted primarily to the study of the integers. Number theorists study prime numbers as well...

. He is most famous for proving Fermat's Last Theorem
Wiles' proof of Fermat's Last Theorem
Wiles's proof of Fermat's Last Theorem is a proof of the modularity theorem for semistable elliptic curves released by Andrew Wiles, which, together with Ribet's theorem, provides a proof for Fermat's Last Theorem. Wiles first announced his proof in June 1993 in a version that was soon recognized...

Wiles is the son of Maurice Frank Wiles
Maurice Wiles
Maurice Frank Wiles was a Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University for 21 years, from 1970 to 1991.-Miracles:...

 (1923–2005), the Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford and Patricia Wiles (née Mowll). His father worked as the Chaplain at Ridley Hall, Cambridge
Ridley Hall, Cambridge
Ridley Hall is a theological college located in Sidgwick Avenue in Cambridge in the United Kingdom, which trains intending ministers for the Church of England and other churches. It was founded in 1881 and named in memory of Nicholas Ridley, a leading protestant theologian of the sixteenth century...

, for the years 1952–55. Wiles was born in Cambridge, England, in 1953, and he attended King's College School, Cambridge, and The Leys School, Cambridge.

Wiles discovered Fermat's Last Theorem on his way home from school when he was 10 years old.

I grew up in Cambridge in England, and my love of mathematics dates from those early childhood days.

I loved doing problems in school. I'd take them home and make up new ones of my own.

But the best problem I ever found, I found in my local public library. I was just browsing through the section of math books and I found this one book, which was all about one particular problem -- Fermat's Last Theorem.

Here was a problem, that I, a ten year old, could understand and I knew from that moment that I would never let it go. I had to solve it.

I realized that anything to do with Fermat's Last Theorem generates too much interest.

I really believed that I was on the right track, but that did not mean that I would necessarily reach my goal.

Young children simply aren't interested in Fermat. They just want to hear a story and they're not going to let you do anything else.

Fermat couldn't possibly have had this proof.

I don't believe Fermat had a proof. I think he fooled himself into thinking he had a proof.

But what has made this problem special for amateurs is that there's a tiny possibility that there does exist an elegant 17th-century proof.