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Did Conway pay the wager for either of the proofs to the The Angel Problem?

I'd check in on this every now and again when it was an unsolved problem and would like to know how the story ends. Anyone know more details?

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This doesn't seem like a good MO question to me -- e.g. because it requires insider information. How are we supposed to decide whether a given answer is correct? (Also, have you tried asking Conway?) –  Pete L. Clark Feb 28 '10 at 15:42
It's a fair point you make but perhaps an article has been written somewhere that I am not aware of and then this would not really require insider information. If someone could provide a reference to such an article I would consider their answer to be correct. –  Q.Q.J. Feb 28 '10 at 15:55
To me, this seems like a perfectly good question for MO -- it's a question about history of mathematics (I don't remember seeing this type of question excluded anywhere) and the answer could conceivably be included in a paper. Often the best answers to questions make use of insider information (this is what the community is for). It's certainly much better than those "What's your favourite book/theorem/lemma/etc...". –  Douglas S. Stones Mar 1 '10 at 0:06

3 Answers 3

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Actually, until very recently, Conway didn't even believe his problem had been solved. (This despite the fact that multiple solutions have been published, some years ago by now, and the solutions had even been exposited at seminars at Princeton.)

Only a few months ago did a few graduate students at Princeton convince him that the problem was solved. He was particularly excited when he heard about the "nice devil" (who never kills a square that could have been visited before).

I have checked with Conway: the bet has not yet been paid. However, it will be soon. I will update this answer if and when it has been paid.

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Thanks very much for your efforts, your k-power is high! –  Q.Q.J. Mar 1 '10 at 22:31
I believe you, and agree that this is somewhat interesting to know. However, on general principle I feel like there's something a bit fishy about receiving information about John Conway from a pseudonymous dinosaur whose homepage is an internet comic! (By the way, it's a very addictive internet comic: I clicked on it a few weeks ago, and by now I have read all 1600 of them.) –  Pete L. Clark Mar 2 '10 at 14:59
@aorq: Any news? –  Rhett Butler May 11 '13 at 10:59

If I remember well Andras Mathe told me that the prize was supposed to be split to four parts which would have made it 25 each, so he decided to renounce his part.

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That sounds funny, as you don't cash these checks, you frame them! –  Richard Kent Feb 28 '10 at 17:33

According to Wikipedia, neither the proof that the 4-angel can win, nor the proof that a 2-angel can win, has been awarded the $100 yet.


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Actually, it only says that it has not been confirmed. The fact that over three years has passed and the wikipedia page still says that is why I asked. –  Q.Q.J. Feb 28 '10 at 16:30
This would be a fairly significant result. I think it's safe to say that if a proof of either is found, this will become public knowledge rather quickly and trickle down to the Wikipedia page (regardless of the $100 payout). –  Cam McLeman Feb 28 '10 at 17:00
Cam: Proofs have been found. The question is, has the prize been paid? (And to whom?) –  Harrison Brown Feb 28 '10 at 17:03
Ah. Then my comment is particularly ironic. :) –  Cam McLeman Feb 28 '10 at 17:31

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