Fermat's Last Theorem

"I myself was very sceptical that the beautiful link between Fermat’s Last Theorem and the Taniyama–Shimura conjecture would actually lead to anything, because I must confess I did not think that the Taniyama–Shimura conjecture was accessible to proof. Beautiful though this problem was, it seemed impossible to actually prove. I must confess I thought I probably wouldn’t see it proved in my lifetime."

There are several alternative ways to state Fermat's Last Theorem that are mathematically equivalent to the original statement of the problem.

In other words, any solution that could contradict Fermat's Last Theorem could also be used to contradict the Modularity Theorem. So if the modularity theorem were found to be true, then it would follow that no contradiction to Fermat's Last Theorem could exist either. As described above, the discovery of this equivalent statement was crucial to the eventual solution of Fermat's Last Theorem, as it provided a means by which it could be "attacked" for all numbers at once.

In plain English, Frey had shown that, if this intuition about his equation was correct, then any set of 4 numbers (a, b, c, n) capable of disproving Fermat's Last Theorem, could also be used to disprove the Taniyama–Shimura–Weil conjecture. Therefore, if the latter were true, the former could not be disproven, and would also have to be true.

These papers established the modularity theorem for semistable elliptic curves, the last step in proving Fermat's Last Theorem, 358 years after it was conjectured.