Ken Ribet

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Ken Ribet
Kenneth Alan Ribet.jpg
Kenneth A. Ribet in 2013
Born (1948-06-28) June 28, 1948 (age 67)
Nationality American
Fields Mathematics
Institutions University of California, Berkeley
Alma mater Brown University
Harvard University
Doctoral advisor John Tate
Doctoral students Bjorn Poonen
Known for Ribet's Theorem
Notable awards Fermat Prize (1989)

Kenneth Alan "Ken" Ribet (born June 28, 1948) is an American mathematician, currently a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley. His mathematical interests include algebraic number theory and algebraic geometry.

Early life and family[edit]

Kenneth Ribet was born to parents David Ribet and Pearl Ribet on June 28, 1948.


As a student at Far Rockaway High School, Ribet was on a competitive mathematics team, but his first field of study was chemistry.[1] He earned his bachelor's degree and master's degree from Brown University in 1969, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1973.


Ribet is credited with paving the way towards Andrew Wiles's proof of Fermat's last theorem. Ribet proved that the epsilon conjecture formulated by Jean-Pierre Serre was indeed true, and thereby proved that Fermat's Last Theorem would follow from the Taniyama–Shimura conjecture. Crucially it also followed that the full conjecture was not needed, but a special case, that of semistable elliptic curves, sufficed. An earlier theorem of Ribet's, the Herbrand–Ribet theorem, the converse to Herbrand's theorem on the divisibility properties of Bernoulli numbers, is also related to Fermat's Last Theorem.

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1998, he received an honorary doctorate from Brown University. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1997 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2000.

He received the Fermat Prize in 1989 jointly with Abbas Bahri.

In 2012, he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[2]


  1. ^ Chapey, Dr. Geraldine. "Chatting with Chapey: Weber and Ribet Honored", The Wave, October 21, 2005. Accessed June 22, 2007. "Speaking of successful professionals, Kenneth Ribet is a world renowned scholar.... He is a proud graduate of P.S. 114, J.H.S. 210 and Far Rockaway High School."
  2. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2013-07-07.

External links[edit]