Fake Genius: How this Nigerian teacher fooled the British media

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Prof. Opeyemi Enoch

News went viral yesterday that a Nigerian ‘math genius’ has solved a 156-year-old math problem thereby leading him to be awarded a prize money of about N200 million.

News went viral yesterday that a Nigerian ‘math genius’ has solved a 156-year-old math problem thereby leading him to be awarded a prize money of about N200 million.

According to reports, Dr. Opeyemi Enoch of Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Ekiti State, made history by providing proof for the old Riemann Hypothesis. The British media first reported this and the news was shared excitedly among Nigerians.

It has now been revealed that this news might have been untrue.

The Riemann Hypothesis, first proposed by German mathematician Bernhard Riemann in 1859, is one of seven Millennium problems presented by the Clay Mathematics Institute with a $1 million reward for solving each one.

According to Quartz Africa, the British media, including the BBC and the Daily Telegraph ran a story that Enoch won this award, but when contacted, US-based Clay Mathematics Institute, refused to confirm this story.

When Quartz Africa visit the institute’s website to take a look at the status of the Millennium problems, only the Poincare Conjecture, solved by Grigoriy Perelman in 2003, is listed as solved. All the other six problems, including the Riemann Hypothesis, remain listed as unsolved.

Enoch, during an interview with BBC, revealed that he got the inspiration to take a chance on the problem when some of his students brought it to him with the hope of making $1 million “off the Internet.”

“Those my students trusted that the solution could come from me,” he said. He said he was motivated by their trust, “not because of the financial reward.”

It was reported that Enoch has web page where the proof of his solution to the  Riemann Hypothesis was published, but on a closer look, it was found that the proof was plagiarized.