Mathematician Proves Huge Result on ‘Dangerous’ Problem

Mathematicians regard the Collatz conjecture as a quagmire and warn each other to stay away. But now Terence Tao has made more progress than anyone in decades.

**Hasnain says:**

Excellent combination of a human interest story and a read into math - specifically the Collatz conjecture.

I was quite surprised to learn PDEs and a statistical approach would be useful to helping an arithmetically simple problem like this.

“Tao doesn’t normally spend time on impossible problems. In 2006 he won the Fields Medal, math’s highest honor, and he is widely regarded as one of the top mathematicians of his generation. He’s used to solving problems, not chasing pipe dreams.

“It’s actually an occupational hazard when you’re a mathematician,” he said. “You could get obsessed with these big famous problems that are way beyond anyone’s ability to touch, and you can waste a lot of time.””