Michael Atiyah, a mathematician who has won several awards including the Fields Medal in 1966, spoke during the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, an event created to connect experts in fields such as science and math with the younger generation.
During a Monday speech in Heidelberg, Germany, Atiyah claimed to have a potential solution to a problem called the Riemann Hypothesis.
"It's so difficult nobody's proved it, so why should anyone prove it now, unless of course you have a totally new idea," said Atiyah.
According to the Clay Mathematics Institute, the hypothesis named after German mathematician Bernhard Riemann centers on how prime numbers — which can only be divided by one or themselves — are distributed and how frequently they occur. Riemann's formula works for the first 10 trillion solutions, said the institute, but not for every single potential prime number.