Poincare Conjecture and Grigory Perelman
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Perelman Rejects $1M Millennium Prize
July 2, 2010. Source:
The Moscow Times
Grigory Perelman, a reclusive 43-year-old mathematician who lives with his mother in St. Petersburg, said Thursday that he had decided to reject a $1 million cash prize from a U.S. institute.
The “Millennium Prize” was awarded by the Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in March for Perelman’s proving of a theorem known as the Poincare conjecture.
Perelman blamed the “unjust” decisions of the “organized mathematician community” for his decision, saying American mathematician Richard Hamilton, ignored by the institute, had contributed to proving the theorem no less than Perelman himself.
Perelman said he notified the institute last week. The institute
said in a statement that it would decide what to do with the
money this fall.
'Nyet' to $1 million? Math genius, Grigory Perelman, may reject award
Marzo 29, 2010. Source: AP by Malcom Ritter and Irina Titova
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Who doesn't want to be a millionaire?
Maybe a 43-year-old unemployed bachelor who lives with his
elderly mother in Russia - and who won $1 million for solving a
problem that has stumped mathematicians for a century.
Grigory Perelman can't decide if he wants the money.
"He said he would need to think about it," said James Carlson,
who telephoned Perelman with the news he had won the Millennium
Prize awarded by the Clay Mathematics Institute of Cambridge,
Carlson said he wasn't too surprised by the apparent lack of
interest from Perelman, a reclusive genius who has a history of
refusing big prizes.
In 2006, Perelman made headlines when he stayed away from the
ceremony in Madrid where he was supposed to get a Fields Medal,
often called the Nobel prize of mathematics. He remained at home
in St. Petersburg instead.
As for the new prize, Perelman (PER-il-mahn) told a local
television station he hasn't made a decision on whether to
accept the money, and that Carlson's institute will be the first
to know when he does.
Sergei Rukshin, Perelman's high school math teacher, told The
Associated Press on Monday that Perelman is still unsure whether
to accept it.
"I know that this time he is seriously thinking about whether he
will accept the prize. He still has some time," Rukshin said.
The awards ceremony is in June.
Rukshin said Perelman has been without work for four years and
has declined all job offers. He previously worked at the Steklov
"As far as I know, after there was so much media attention ...
he did not want to be a public person and to look like an animal
in the zoo," Rukshin said.
He said he had encouraged Perelman to accept the prize to
provide for himself and his elderly mother.
Technically, the award is a done deal.
"He has been awarded the prize. That's the decision of the
committee," Carlson said. "He may or may not accept the money."
Carlson declined to discuss what would happen to the $1 million
if Perelman rejects it. Several groups in Russia, including the
St. Petersburg Communist Party, have made public appeals to
Perelman to give them the cash to fight poverty if he doesn't
want it for himself.
Perelman was honored for proving the Poincare
conjecture, which deals with shapes that exist in four or more
dimensions, rather than the familiar three dimensions. The
conjecture proposes a test for determining whether a shape in
such space, no matter how distorted, is a three-dimensional
That was one of seven problems the Clay institute identified in
2000 as being worthy of a $1 million Millennium Prize. It's the
first problem on the list to be solved.
The Clay institute was founded in 1998 by Landon T. Clay, a
Boston businessman, and his wife, Lavinia D. Clay.
Tamara Yefimova, a deputy director of Perelman's high school who
has known the mathematician since he was a student there, said
that once he started working on the Poincare conjecture he
became totally absorbed in it.
She said Perelman stopped visiting his old school to help
students and stopped attending meetings of the city's math
As a high school student, Perelman obviously was the most gifted
student, Yefimova said. The only reason he didn't get a gold
medal upon graduation, she said, was that the unathletic scholar
didn't get the top grade in physical education. Perelman went on
to earn college and postgraduate degrees in mathematics and
mechanical engineering from Leningrad State University and
Steklov Mathematics Institute.
"It could have been only him who would solve the Poincare
conjecture," Yefimova said.
Indeed, Carlson said, Perelman's solution was "a truly amazing
piece of mathematics."
Perelman lives in an aging three-room high-rise apartment with
his mother and doesn't like to pick up awards he's won, money or
not. What is going on here?
Dean Simonton, a psychology professor at the University of
California, Davis, said the field of abstract mathematics can
attract people who live in extreme isolation, are aggressively
nonconformist and "too often let their personalities interfere
with their professional success."
Thomas Greenspon, a Minneapolis psychologist who has long worked
with gifted children and adults, speculated that Perelman may be
reacting to growing up brilliant.
"It's easy to grow up feeling bad about yourself and maybe even
feeling like a freak and sort of reacting accordingly," so
social skills can suffer, he said.
Mathematicians will gather in Paris in June to celebrate
Perelman's achievement and put on some kind of ceremony whether
he's there or not.
Does Carlson care whether Perelman shows up?
"It would be nice," Carlson said. "But on the other hand, I
respect his desire for calm and tranquility."
Associated Press Science Writer Malcolm Ritter reported from New
Russian to turn down
million dollar prize for maths
August 17, 2006. Source: Telegraph.co.uk by Harry Mount in New
An eccentric Russian genius who is thought to have solved one of
the world's trickiest maths problems is expected to turn down
the mathematics equivalent of a Nobel prize and another award
worth a million dollars.
Experts agree that Grigory Perelman, of St Petersburg, cracked
the century-old Poincaré Conjecture in 2002. Next Tuesday he is
almost certain to win a Fields Medal, the ultimate maths prize,
awarded every four years by the executive committee of the
International Mathematical Union at Princeton University.
The only problem is that Dr Perelman is not interested in prizes
and has already turned down a European maths prize, because he
did not think the judges were eminent enough.
This is the last year that Dr Perelman, who turned 40 in June,
can claim the Fields prize, open only to mathematicians under
Dr Perelman is equally unexcited by the £530,000 that the Clay
Mathematics Institute in Boston is almost certain to give him
for solving the problem. In 2000, the institute offered a
million dollars to anybody who could solve any one of seven
"There will still need to be up to two years of checking Dr
Perelman's work," said an institute spokesman, "But he probably
will get it. If he doesn't want the money, it's going to be
Dr Perelman was a child prodigy, trained at a St Petersburg
school devoted to maths and physics. At 16 he achieved a gold
medal with the perfect score at the 1982 International
The Poincaré Conjecture was posed by the French mathematician,
Jules Henri Poincaré, in 1904. It seeks to understand the shape
of the universe by explaining the relationship between shapes,
spaces and surfaces.
Fields Medal: Four mathematicians win world's top math prize
Meet the cleverest
man in the world (who's going to say no to a $1m prize)
August 16, 2006. Source; The Guardian, James Randerson, science
He is possibly the cleverest person on the planet: an enigmatic
and reclusive genius who shocked the academic world with his
claim to have solved one of the hardest problems in maths. He is
tipped to win a "maths Nobel" for his work on possible shapes of
the universe. But rumours are rife that the brilliant Russian
mathematician will spurn the greatest accolade his peers can
Since Grigory "Grisha" Perelman revealed his solution in 2002 to
a century-old maths problem, it has been subjected to
unparalleled scrutiny by the best academic minds. But no one has
been able to find a mistake and there is a growing consensus
that he has cracked the problem.
So, next Tuesday he is tipped to win a Fields medal. But even by
the standards of troubled maths virtuosos such as John Nash,
portrayed in the film A Beautiful Mind, Dr Perelman is described
He has said he will refuse a $1m prize offered by a private
maths research institute in the US that would be his if his
claim is proved correct. And upper echelons of the maths world
are buzzing with rumours that even if he is offered the gong he
will not accept it. The medals are open to mathematicians under
40 years old at the beginning of the prize year. Dr Perelman
turned 40 in June so this is the last year that he can win.
He has also refused a major European maths prize, supposedly on
the grounds that he did not believe the committee awarding the
prize was sufficiently qualified to judge his work.
"I just don't see him turning up in a stretch limo with four
over-endowed women and waving his cheque in the air. It's not
his style," said Jeremy Gray, a maths historian at the
University of Oxford.
"I think he's a very unconventional person. He's against being
involved in pageantry and idolatry," said Arthur Jaffe at
Harvard University. "But he carries it to extreme which people
might describe as a little crazy."
Little is known about Dr Perelman, who refuses to talk to the
media. He was born on June 13 1966 and his prodigious talent led
to his early enrolment at a St Petersburg school specialising in
advanced mathematics and physics. At the age of 16, he won a
gold medal with a perfect score at the 1982 International
Mathematical Olympiad, a competition for gifted schoolchildren.
After receiving his PhD from the St Petersburg State University,
he worked at the Steklov Institute of Mathematics before moving
to the US in the late 80s to take posts at various universities.
He returned to the Steklov about 10 years ago to work on his
proof of the universe's shape.
The maths world was set humming in 2002 by the first instalment
of his ground-breaking work on the problem which was set out by
the French mathematician, physicist and philosopher Jules Henri
Poincaré in 1904. The conjecture, which is difficult for most
non-mathematicians even to understand, exercised some of the
greatest minds of the 20th century.
It concerns the geometry of multidimensional spaces and is key
to the field of topology. Dr Perelman claims to have solved a
more general version of the problem called Thurston's
geometrisation conjecture, of which the Poincaré conjecture is a
"It's a central problem both in maths and physics because it
seeks to understand what the shape of the universe can be," said
Marcus Du Sautoy at Oxford University, who will be giving this
year's Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. "It is very tricky
to pin down. A lot of people have announced false proofs of this
The obsession with the problem, shared by several great
mathematicians, has been dubbed Poincaritis.
But Dr Perelman seems to have succeeded where so many failed. "I
think for many months or even years now people have been saying
they were convinced by the argument," said Nigel Hitchin,
professor of mathematics at Oxford University. "I think it's a
Even the way he announced his proof - which took eight years to
complete - was unusual. Rather than publishing in a
peer-reviewed journal, he posted three manuscripts in an online
archive of maths and physics papers.
"He placed the papers on the web archive and basically said
'that's it'," Prof Hitchin said. "A lot of details needed to be
filled in. And there's a bit of squabbling in the background
actually about who was first to fill in the details." The most
recent of the papers fleshing out his proof runs to a
mind-numbing 473 pages.
There is more than just professional acclaim at stake. In 2000,
the Clay Institute in Boston, a private maths research
organisation, established seven "millennium problems", each with
a million-dollar reward for a solution. The Poincaré conjecture
is one, but Dr Perelman has said he is not interested in the
money. "There are all sorts of jokes going round the community
that having a million dollars in St Petersburg is quite
dangerous," Prof Hitchin said.
No one is quite sure what will happen if the Russian spurns the
medal. "If he were to win it and turn it down it would be
slightly insulting," said Prof Du Sautoy. But it seems unlikely
that Dr Perelman, who recently relinquished his academic
position, will care much about offending his peers. "He has sort
of alienated himself from the maths community," Prof Du Sautoy
added. "He has become disillusioned with mathematics, which is
quite sad. He's not interested in money. The big prize for him
is proving his theorem."
This hairy hermit
could save maths
August 17, 2006. Source: Telegraph.co.uk by Simon Singh
The Russian Grigory Perelman is being called the cleverest and
craziest person on the planet. He has come up with the greatest
mathematical proof of the 21st century, while sporting the sort
of facial hair that makes him look like Rasputin's twin. He has
been offered the most prestigious prize in mathematics, but it
is unlikely that he will bother to claim it.
The reclusive Perelman is reinforcing the stereotype that
mathematical geniuses are strange eccentrics, and he seems to be
exactly the sort of person who puts people off maths. At a time
when Europe is trying to encourage young people to study maths,
why can't our top-notch mathematicians be beautiful, witty
extroverts? Why can't they drive around in fast cars and fill
the tabloids with gossip about their Hollywood-style orgies?
Realistically, mathematicians are never going to be very
glamorous, and moreover it could be that Perelman is exactly
what mathematics needs in order to promote itself. Perversely,
however, I believe that this hairy Russian hermit could be the
poster boy who helps create a new generation of mathematical
geniuses. First, it is clear that Perelman is a genius. It is
widely accepted among scholars that he has solved the notorious Poincaré conjecture, which had mathematicians baffled for more
than a century.
The conjecture is about spheres that live in a higher dimension.
Although mathematicians knew how to define a normal
three-dimensional sphere, it had been hard to pin down the
properties of the fiendishly abstract four-dimensional sphere,
until Perelman came along. His proof of the Poincaré conjecture
runs to several hundred pages of dense mathematics and is
considered a mathematical masterpiece.
In 2000, to add some glitz to number-crunching, the Clay
Mathematics Institute in America offered seven Millennium Prizes
of $1 million each for the solutions to seven major problems in
mathematics, including the Poincaré conjecture. None of the
other problems are close to being solved, so Perelman would be
the first to claim $1 million, but he has shown no interest in
becoming a millionaire and spurned any approaches by the prize
The majority of the population will find this type of behavior
bizarre, and it will serve only to reinforce their antipathy
towards mathematics, mathematicians, all numbers bigger than a
million and any polygon with more than four sides.
Unfortunately, mathematicians are never going to be fun, cuddly
folk who appeal to the masses, because what they do is
inherently extremely esoteric.
More importantly, however, Perelman might appeal to a small, but
critical, audience - namely the tiny fraction of the teenage
population who have a talent and enthusiasm for abstract
mathematics. They are currently awaiting their exam results and
wondering what to do next. Those around them might be saying
that studying mathematics could lead to a career as an
accountant (which is an important profession) or perhaps to
becoming a teacher (an even more important job), but these
opportunities are not necessarily going to inspire every
mathematically inclined teenager.
In contrast, Perelman shows that studying mathematics can also
offer another path. It can lead to a romantic, obsessive
lifestyle that is on a par with being a poet or a musician.
Perelman spurns money, medals and honours, because the highest
reward for him is simply the opportunity to create wonderful
Perelman is not unique - the history of maths is full of heroes
who exhibit a purity of spirit and utter determination that make
mathematics the sexiest discipline on the planet. For example,
Sophie Germain had to disguise herself as a man in order to
overcome the prejudices of early-19th-century Paris and make
discoveries that eluded earlier generations. At roughly the same
time, the 20-year-old Evariste Galois knew that he was going to
die in a duel and spent his final night writing down all his
mathematical ideas. If he was going to die, then he did not want
his maths to die with him, and, sure enough, his radical ideas
continue to influence modern research.
More recently, Paul Erdõs, the most prolific mathematician of
the 20th century, shared many of Perelman's traits. He worked
for 19 hours a day, fuelled by coffee and amphetamines. Erdõs
would often say: "A mathematician is a machine for turning
coffee into theorems." His entire belongings fitted easily into
two battered suitcases, and instead of buying a house, he lodged
with fellow mathematicians. His motto was: "Another roof,
Erdõs was not interested in wealth and gave away his money by
offering rewards for the solution to various problems. Once,
when the outstanding rewards totalled $15,000, a colleague
pointed out that Erdõs would be bankrupted if all his problems
were solved, to which he replied: "But what would happen to the
strongest bank if all the creditors asked for their money back?
The bank would surely go broke. And a run on the bank is much
more likely than solutions to all my problems."
The last time that mathematics had a hero figure was when Andrew
Wiles proved Fermat's last theorem, which required seven years
of secret devotion and a similarly formidable proof. Although
Wiles has accepted his prizes, totalling several hundred
thousand dollars, his real motivation was mere curiosity and the
desire to explore the uncharted regions of the mathematical
universe. Wiles, Erdõs, Germain, Galois and Perelman all share a
desire for knowledge and wonder, as opposed to money and fame.
Next week Perelman will get another chance to show his disdain
for baubles and fancy prizes, because it is likely that he will
be offered the Fields Medal - the mathematical version of the
Nobel Prize. Perelman has already refused to give a lecture at
the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid, where
the medal is to be awarded, which means that he will probably
refuse to accept the medal. It will be the ultimate act of
defiance, as the Fields Medal can only be awarded to
mathematicians aged 40 or less, and Perelman's 40th birthday was
earlier this summer.
Simon Singh is a science writer and the author of 'Fermat's Last
exchanges money and glory for seclusion
August 17, 2006. Source:
mathematician Grigory Perelman, who has proved Poincare
hypothesis, will possibly reject the highest international
mathematical award — Fields Medal. According to his colleagues,
he will hardly visit Madrid for the award’s presentation, GZT.ru
informs. “Money is not the most important thing for him. He is
completely absorbed in science,” they say at the institute.
As REGNUM informed, Grigory Perelman found proof of the
hypothesis, which has not been proved by mathematicians of many
countries for 100 years. The Poincare hypothesis is a key
element of modern research of the universal
physical-mathematical foundations. The scientific world predicts
that Mr. Perelman will receive Fields Medal for his achievement.
At that, if the guest from Russia is absent at the ceremony,
report on his achievement will be read by other scientists.
However, nobody knows whether Mr. Perelman will accept the
It is worth stressing that US Clay Mathematics Institute was
ready to put up $1mln purse to the Russian. The genius rejected
the money, still having not published his discovery at
specialized journals. Additionally, he quitted Steklov
Mathematical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in
order to live in seclusion.
Vanishing act has
math pros re-solving riddle
Grisha Perelman, where are you?
August 20, 2006. Source: San Francisco Chronicle. Dennis Overbye,
New York Times
Three years ago, a Russian mathematician by the name of Grigory
Perelman, a.k.a. Grisha, in St. Petersburg, announced that he
had solved a famous and intractable mathematical problem, known
as the Poincare conjecture, about the nature of space.
After posting a few short papers on the Internet and making a
whirlwind lecture tour of the United States, Perelman
disappeared back into the Russian woods in the spring of 2003,
leaving the world's mathematicians to pick up the pieces and
decide if he was right.
Now they say they have finished his work, and the evidence is
circulating among scholars in the form of three book-length
papers with about 1,000 pages of dense mathematics and prose
As a result there is a growing feeling, a cautious optimism that
they have finally achieved a landmark not just of mathematics,
but of human thought.
"It's really a great moment in mathematics," said Bruce Kleiner
of Yale, who has spent the past three years helping to explicate
Perelman's work. "It could have happened 100 years from now, or
In a speech at a conference in Beijing this summer, Shing-Tung
Yau of Harvard said the understanding of three-dimensional space
brought about by Poincare's conjecture could be one of the major
pillars of math in the 21st century.
Quoting Poincare himself, Yau said, "Thought is only a flash in
the middle of a long night, but the flash that means
World's top maths
genius jobless and living with mother
A maths genius who won fame last week for apparently spurning
a million-dollar prize is living with his mother in a humble
flat in St Petersburg, co-existing on her £30-a-month pension,
because he has been unemployed since December.
August 20, 2006. Source: Telegraph.co.uk by Nadejda Lobastova in
St Petersburg and Michael Hirst.
The Sunday Telegraph tracked down the eccentric recluse who
stunned the maths world when he solved a century-old puzzle
known as the Poincaré Conjecture.
Grigory "Grisha" Perelman's predicament stems from an
acrimonious split with a leading Russian mathematical institute,
the Steklov, in 2003. When the Institute in St Petersburg failed
to re-elect him as a member, Dr Perelman, 40, was left feeling
an "absolutely ungifted and untalented person", said a friend.
He had a crisis of confidence and cut himself off.
Other friends say he cannot afford to travel to this week's
International Mathematical Union's congress in Madrid, where his
peers want him to receive the maths equivalent of the Nobel
Prize, and that he is too modest to ask anyone to underwrite his
Interviewed in St Petersburg last week, Dr Perelman insisted
that he was unworthy of all the attention, and was uninterested
in his windfall. "I do not think anything that I say can be of
the slightest public interest," he said. "I am not saying that
because I value my privacy, or that I am doing anything I want
to hide. There are no top-secret projects going on here. I just
believe the public has no interest in me."
He continued: "I know that self-promotion happens a lot and if
people want to do that, good luck to them, but I do not regard
it as a positive thing. I realised this a long time ago and
nobody is going to change my mind. "Newspapers should be more
discerning over who they write about. They should have more
taste. As far as I am concerned, I can't offer anything for
"I don't base that on any negative experiences with the press,
although they have been making up nonsense about my father being
a famous physicist. It's just plain and simply that I don't care
what anybody writes about me at all."
Dr Perelman has some small savings from his time as a lecturer,
but is apparently reluctant to supplement them with the $1
million (£531,000) offered by the Clay Mathematics Institute in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, for solving one of the world's seven
The Poincaré Conjecture was first posed by the French
mathematician, Jules Henri Poincaré, in 1904, and seeks to
understand the shape of the universe by linking shapes, spaces
Friends say that evidence of Dr Perelman's innate modesty came
when - having finally solved the problem after more than 10
years' work - he simply posted his conclusion on the internet,
rather than publishing his explanation in a recognised journal.
"If anybody is interested in my way of solving the problem, it's
all there - let them go and read about it," said Dr Perelman. "I
have published all my calculations. This is what I can offer the
Math's Highest Honor
August 22, 2006. Source: Washington Post, The Associated Press by Daniel Woolls
Spain -- A reclusive Russian won the math world's highest honor
Tuesday for solving a problem that has stumped some of the
discipline's greatest minds for a century _ but he refused the
Grigory Perelman, a 40-year-old native of St. Petersburg, won a
Fields Medal _ often described as math's equivalent of the Nobel
prize _ for a breakthrough in the study of shapes that experts
say might help scientists figure out the shape of the universe.
John Ball, president of the International Mathematical Union,
said that he had urged Perelman to accept the medal, but
Perelman said he felt isolated from the mathematics community
and "does not want to be seen as its figurehead." Ball offered
no further details of the conversation.
Besides shunning the award for his work in topology, Perelman
also seems uninterested, according to colleagues, in a separate
$1 million prize he could win for proving the Poincare
conjecture, a theorem about the nature of multidimensional
The award, given out every four years, was announced at the
mathematical union's International Congress of Mathematicians.
Three other mathematicians _ Russian Andrei Okounkov, Frenchman
Wendelin Werner and Australian Terence Tao _ won Fields medals
in other areas of mathematics.
They received their awards from King Juan Carlos to loud
applause from delegates to the conference. But Perelman was not
"I regret that Dr. Perelman has declined to accept the medal,"
Four mathematicians win world's top math prize
August 23, 2006. Source: Xinhua
leading international mathematicians won the world's top math
prize -- the Fields Medal -- on Tuesday and received
medals from Spanish King Juan Carlos, but another winner,
Russia's Grigori Perelman, snubbed the award.
The other three winners are Andrei Okounkov of Russia, Terence
Tao of Australia and Wendelein Werner of France.
The Fields Medal was founded in 1936 and named after Canadian
mathematician, John Charles Fields.
The International Mathematics Union (IMU) awards the
medals every four years during its Congress. The 25th annual
International Congress of Mathematicians is being held from Aug.
22 to Aug. 30 in Madrid, attracting some 4,000 scientists from
around 120 countries.
The IMU said it had rewarded Okounkov "for his
contribution to the work on the interaction of probability
theory, representation theory and geometrical algebra."
Tao won the award "for his contributions to the partial
derivatives equations: combinatory and with theory of additive
Werner, who was born in Germany, won the award "for his
contribution to the development of Loewner's stochastic
evolution, the geometry of Brownian motion in two dimensions and
his theory of field formation."
Perelman won for "contributions to geometry and his
revolutionary deepening of the analysis and structural geometry
of Ricci flows." However, he refused the prize and remained in
Russia ignoring the award.
When being a genius
just doesn't add up
Like Garbo, Grigory Perelman just wants to be left alone.
Fair enough, says Katherine Kizilos.
August 26, 2006. Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
would possess the reclusive Russian mathematician Grigory
Perelman to reject the Fields Medal, described as the Nobel of
Perelman achieved international fame this week by refusing to
accept the prize, becoming the first mathematician to do so. His
refusal won as much public attention as his groundbreaking
mathematical work, possibly because the refusal is easier to
describe, although it is not necessarily easier for the media to
Perelman's achievement has been to solve the Poincare
Conjecture. According to The New York Times, mathematicians say
it may be 100 years before its full implications for math and
physics are understood.
The same report described Perelman's work as a "landmark, not
just of mathematics but of human thought". The Guardian story
was headlined: "Meet the cleverest man in the world.".
All of which makes Perelman's reluctance to stand in the
limelight all the more intriguing. Reports about his
breakthrough have inevitably also referred to his shyness, his
reclusiveness and lack of interest in material success.
There is an unspoken assumption that Perelman, 40, is acting
like a freak, that he is defying a natural impulse to beat
himself on the chest and declare himself king. Colleagues have
described him as a quiet man who lives with his mother on her
meagre pension and who likes to wander around the forest near St
It is difficult not to feel sympathy for Perelman who appears to
want nothing more than to be left alone and who, like Garbo
before him, has become the subject of intense speculation.
Although he had done a series of postdoctoral fellowships in the
US in the early 1990s, he turned down offers of work at Stanford
and Princeton, taking up a post at the Steklov Institute of
Mathematics in St Petersburg.
It may be that Perelman's ambition has been to pursue
mathematics and his burden has been the razzamatazz attached to
the success he has achieved in this arcane pursuit. The real
world, which demands he travels, give speeches and meet the King
of Spain, may seem to him a crazy show, quite unconnected to the
place where his intellect and imagination has taken him. One
report has it that he has become disillusioned with mathematics,
which must be a terrible blow. But if it is true, his
reclusiveness makes perfect sense.
intentions appear to be simple
August 27, 2006. Source: The New York Times by George
before John Forbes Nash Jr., the schizophrenic Nobel laureate
fictionalized on-screen in "A Beautiful Mind," mathematics has
been infused with the legend of the mad genius cut off from the
physical world and dwelling in a separate realm of numbers. In
ancient times, there was
Pythagoras, guru of a cult of geometers, and
distracted by an equation he was scratching in the sand that he
was slain by a Roman soldier.
Newton in the 17th
century, Gödel in the 20th - each reinforced the image of the
mathematician as ascetic, forgoing a regular life to pursue
truths too rarefied for the rest of us to understand.
Last week, a reclusive Russian topologist named Grigory Perelman
seemed to be playing to type, or stereotype, when he refused to
accept the highest honor in mathematics, the Fields Medal, for
work pointing toward the solution of Poincaré's conjecture, a
longstanding hypothesis involving the deep structure of
three-dimensional objects. He left open the possibility that he
would also spurn a $1 million prize from the Clay Mathematics
Institute, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Unlike Marlon Brando's turning down an Academy Award or
Jean-Paul Sartre a Nobel Prize, Perelman did not appear to be
making a political statement or trying to draw more attention to
himself. It was not so much a medal that he was rejecting but
the idea that in the search for nature's secrets the discoverer
is more important than the discovery.
Multifold of Destiny
in 'A Complete Proof of the Poincare'
According to Harvard mathematician Shing-Tung Yau, a scathing
profile in the New Yorker doesn’t add up.
The article on Yau, which was published in late August, alleges
that the mathematician has claimed credit where none is due for
solving the Conjecture.
September 28, 2006. Source: The Harvard Crimson by By Leon
to Harvard mathematician Shing-Tung Yau, the first time
journalist Sylvia Nasar got in touch with him for a story she
was writing for the New Yorker, she told him she was interested
in the fusion of math and physics as represented in the age-old
Poincare Conjecture. Yau, a Harvard string thle, Perelman had posted a solution to the
Poincare online, without even bothering to formally publish in
an accredited math journal. The luminaries of the profession,
according to the piece, all agreed that Perelman had done it.
The International Mathematical Union had even offered him the
Fields Medal, a high honor awarded to brilliant mathematicians
under the age of 40. Perelman turned down the prize, saying that
his proof spoke for itself, and that no further recognition was
needed. Yau, meanwhile, according to the article, enlisted a
pair of colleagues and, in an attempt to win prestige in the
Chinese math community, had them put together a more technically
rigorous, and nominally more complete, version of the proof.