Department of Mathematics


  •  Ken Ribet, UC Berkeley
  •  The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Elliptic Curves
  •  10/20/2022
  •  4:10 PM - 5:00 PM
  •  C304 Wells Hall
  •  Joseph Waldron (

If a and b are integers that satisfy a simple nonvanishing condition, the cubic equation y^2 = x^3 + ax + b defines an elliptic curve over the field of rational numbers. Elliptic curves have been studied for millennia and seem to occur all over the place in mathematics, physics and other sciences. In my talk, I'll explain how a specific elliptic curve provides the solution to a surprisingly hard "brain teaser" that had a big run on social media a few years ago.



Department of Mathematics
Michigan State University
619 Red Cedar Road
C212 Wells Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824

Phone: (517) 353-0844
Fax: (517) 432-1562

College of Natural Science