Mathematics

The Shortest Research Paper Ever Published

It ended Euler's conjecture almost 200 years after it was first proposed.

The paper consisted of just two succinct sentences and it rebutted a mathematical precedent known as Euler’s conjecture, a theory proposed by Leonhard Euler in 1769.

shortest research paper

Euler proposed that at least n nth powers are required for the value of “n” greater than “2” to provide a sum that is itself an “nth” power. Then in 1966, two mathematicians L.J. Lander and T.R. Parkin came along and swiftly overturned his claim with a counterexample:  275 + 845 + 1105 + 1335 = 1445

The paper was published in The Bulletin Of The American Mathematical Society in 1966. It was the shortest-known paper published in a serious math journal.

Sources: Open Culture, Wolfram MathWorld

6 comments

  1. Brevity!

    PS That was my idea of a succinct comment, in keeping with the post. It may now be moot, since I’ve rambled on in my post-script. 🙂 Your posts always make me think!

  2. I can’t do algebra I. That and levels above it are required for college and even high school to have a passing degree of mastery. Almost kept me from graduating both. This is a special universe inhabited by admittedly brilliant minds but a place in the academic geography completely irrelevant and useless to me and many many other people as well. Most of us are not going to work for NASA . Accounting and bookkeeping would be much more useful curriculum in math for most of us.

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