This problem is

Fermat's last theorem. It is a statement so simple that even a grasp of high-school mathematics is sufficient to understand it; and for its simplicity, it had gone unsolved for nearly 3-and-a-half centuries.

Mathematicians chipped away at the problem, proving it for specific values or categories of

*n*, but the fact that there are an infinite number of

*n* made such a strategy ultimately infeasible. Finally, in 1995, a proof by

Andrew Wiles, with the assistance of Richard Taylor, was published, and the conjecture was proven true once and for all.