Voters Determine Century's Greatest Contributions

Richard Fleming has reported the results of the voting by mathematicians in the state for the "Top Ten" contributions to mathematics during the past century. The contest was organized by Central Michigan University, and the results influenced the choice of plenary talks at the Section's spring meeting. Items are listed in descending order according to total score. Each voter had to rank the top five, in order; first place votes were awarded 5 points, second place votes 4 points, and so on.

  1. Development of the digital computer (239)
  2. Gödel's incompleteness proof (223)
  3. Einstein's relativity theory (195)
  4. Wiles' proof of Fermat's Last Theorem (181)
  5. Hilbert's talk at the 1900 Congress (118)
  6. Classification of finite simple groups (83)
  7. Development of linear programming (59)
  8. Mathematization of quantum mechanics (53)
  9. Development of fractal geometry (52)
  10. Applications of mathematics to cryptology (50)

Other accomplishments garnering scores of 20 or more were Lebesgue's dissertation (43), Fast Fourier Transform (41), proof of independence of Continuum Hypothesis (39), game theory (38), proof of Four Color Theorem (29), development of category theory (24), and application of group theory to particle physics (21).

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