The transformer that provides electricity to the AMS building in Providence went down on Sunday, April 22. The restoration of our email, website, AMS Bookstore and other systems is almost complete. We are currently running on a generator but overnight a new transformer should be hooked up and (fingers crossed) we should be fine by 8:00 (EDT) Wednesday morning. This issue has affected selected phones, which should be repaired by the end of today. No email was lost, although the accumulated messages are only just now being delivered so you should expect some delay.

Thanks for your patience.

in the Popular Press

"Prize offered for solving number conundrum," by Ivars Peterson. *Science News*, 15 November 1997, page 310.

"Number Theorists Embark on a New Treasure Hunt," by Dana Mackenzie. *Science*, 21 November 1997, page 1396.

"Banker Offers $50,000 to Entice Mathematicians to Solve Number Theory Problem," by Kim McDonald. *Chronicle of Higher Education*, 28 November 1997.

"Math lover offers winner piece of pi," by Steve Blow. *Dallas Morning News*, 30 November 1997.

"Solve this Riddle and Win $50,000," by Elizabeth Veomett. *Business Week*, 15 December 1997, page 107.

"Wanted: six numbers for $50,000 reward," by Keith Devlin. *Manchester Guardian*, 7 January 1998.

"Earn Cash While Working at Home!" *Esquire*, March 1998

Each of these articles reports on the offer by Andrew Beal, a Dallas banker, to award a prize of US$50,000 to anyone who can solve a number theory problem he has proposed. The problem, known generally as the Beal Conjecture, bears some similarity to Fermat's Last Theorem, which had stumped mathematicians for 350 years and which was solved recently by Princeton mathematician Andrew Wiles. Fermat's Last Theorem says that the equation A^{n} + B^{n} = C^{n}, where all of the letters represent whole numbers, has no solution if n is bigger than 2. The Beal Conjecture states that if A^{x} + B^{y} = C^{z}, then A, B, and C have a common factor (here all the letters represent whole numbers, with x, y, and z bigger than 2). For further information on the Beal Conjecture and the prize, visit the web site http://www.math.unt.edu/~mauldin/beal.html.

*--- Allyn Jackson*