Millions for math – Foundation announces prizes

A Massachusetts foundation has offered seven $1 million prizes to anyone who can solve one of seven unsolved math problems, the Washington Post reports.

The Clay Mathematics Institute claims finding a solution for these problems could lead to breakthroughs in encryption and other fields, the Post says.

“The appeal of mathematics is universal, not cultural. There is no country that will dominate mathematics,” said Landon T. Clay, founder and benefactor of the institute.

The seven new problems, which defy easy description, can be found on the foundation’s Web site.

Winning contestants must have their solutions scrutinized for at least two years after they are published in a recognized mathematics journal. This means no prize is likely to be awarded before 2004. There is no time limit on the contest, officials said.

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