Skip to comments.Russian maths genius may turn down $1m prize [solved the Poincaré conjecture]
Posted on 03/28/2010 1:40:12 AM PDT by bruinbirdman
Inside the world of Grigory Perelman: the man who solved the world's toughest maths problem proves to be a puzzle himself.
He has been called "the cleverest man in the world" and shook academia to its foundations when he announced he had solved a fiendish mathematical problem that had baffled the planet's best brains for a century.
Yet Grigory Perelman, a 43-year-old Russian mathematician, has consciously spurned plaudits and wealth to subsist like a hermit. He lives in a 2-bedroom flat with his elderly mother in a dilapidated Soviet-era tower block in St. Petersburg, while neighbours complain that his own studio flat, which he seldom uses, has become a breeding ground for cockroaches.
Now he has proved again, and in spectacular fashion, that he despises society's conventional norms. Picking up the telephone last week, the bearded genius, who is jobless, found himself being offered an academic prize worth $1 million.
He politely but tersely told the prestigious American institute offering him the prize that he would have to consider whether he wanted to accept the money or not.
"He said he would let me know at some point," Jim Carlson, President of the Clay Mathematics Institute, told The Sunday Telegraph.
"He did not give a sense of timing but I do not expect it will be tomorrow. He is more than extremely brief. He does not say too much," he added, explaining that Mr Perelman had not said why he would need to think about such a windfall.
"It is not every day that a person even entertains turning down a million dollars."
The Russian has turned down high honours before. In 2006, he was offered and declined the Fields Medal, the mathematical world's equivalent of a Nobel Prize. He said at the time he was
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
Does this guy end every conversation with, “I don’t always drink beer. But when I do, I prefer Dos Equis. Stay thirsty my friend?”
BTW, he should take the money and use it to get a make over.
He turned down the Fields Medal? Wow.
anyone ever wondered why theres so many smart Jews
This man is completely amazing, but 10 bucks says he’s never been laid. Any takers?
Wonderful story. Perhaps there is autism involved; people with this condition can be frighteningly intelligent. But it’s not for me to make a diagnosis from afar, of course.
He’s a real individual, an authentic person, who values personal choices more than conventional societal routines.
Neither was Newton.
He seems to be functional enough — and antisocial enough — that he might have Asperger’s Syndrome and not full-blown autism.
Interesting guy. Brilliant.
Yes, you’re completely right. I was thinking of Asperger’s too. Full autism would possibly have hampered him in publishing his work and presenting it to the outside world.
Amazing fellow. Take the contrast between Zer0 and the genius. Both are celebs of a sort.
One is real one is false.
Wisdom and character with virtue.
A month and he'll be begging for the million and the medal.
Somehow I am not surprised at this. I am sure somewhere there is a top rate scientist that doubts globull warming that has been voted out too.
The source of all blessing is through Israel, the Hebrew nation. From this truth, an interesting study arises when researching the etymology of innovative ideas.
The greatest number of inventions and innovative technology has originated via Hebrew lineage. While not always attributed to Jewish founders, it is interesting to observe how many inventions were solely from Jewish roots, and how many which claim to be independent of Jewish roots, happened to have had Jewish acquaintances about the time preceding their reported innovative discoveries.
Many innovations are spiritually communicated prior to any human communication.
And if he does get a job at Mickey D’s, I am sure he’ll be the only one who will know what a McGangBang is when someone tries to order it. BTW, I had one, er made one, the other day and it’s actually quite good! And only for $2 +tax!!!
McGangBang = McDouble + McChicken Sandwich both from $1 menu. Sandwich the whole McChicken between the Mcdouble and enjoy!
You can see people try to order the McGB on youtube.
It wouldn’t take conforming to conventional societal norms for him to make at least his mother’s life a little more bearable.
Let’s see if he can make change in his head!
Wise words. Accepted with gratitude.
For compact 2-dimensional surfaces without boundary, if every loop can be continuously tightened to a point, then the surface is topologically homeomorphic to a 2-sphere, usually just called a sphere. The Poincaré conjecture asserts that the same is true for 3-dimensional surfaces.
(Like .. I even understand THAT !!?!!)
got a point there. Because of the dominance of left wing educators in the western world, they don’t push kids at all, instead encourage them to pursue liberal arts, literature and history
I thought of Asperger’s too.
I also thought of his poor mother and what this all must be like for her.
And I’m also thinking that if I controlled the giving of that $1 million prize I would try to think of some way to set up a trust fund and give the mother access.
Yep. Shimmer1 below had about the same idea. The mother probably is the forgotten heroine in the whole story.
They work hardest of any clan on earth at being smart.
IIRC this book addresses this question somewhat. Among other things it says says that in Jewish history and culture, a religious scholar was always seen as a good match for the daughter of a rich merchant.
Not surprised several conclude this man has a variety of mental defects giving justification to his brilliance.
If you are voted off the Island that the electorate things will be submerged because of global warming, do you really care?
Reminds me of the movie “A Beautiful Mind”.
Perhaps he should start to Tweat or create his own Facebook page.
Good call. I think the character played by Russell Crowe, game theorist John F. Nash jr., got to suffer from schizophrenia around his 30th year, and only seemed recovered in his mid-fifties.
In turn this reminds me of the life story of head Beach Boy Brian D. Wilson. He was terribly abused in his youth, and around his 25th year, he developed ‘schizo-affective disorder’, a close relative of schizophrenia. He heard voices in his head that threatened to kill him. But he also heard the most beautiful music imaginable in his brain. And put it on paper, and on record. Wilson got into the claws of a psychologist who sought total control of his patient; and that man prescribed him enormous quantities of legal, but not appropriate drugs. As a result, Wilson experienced horrible setbacks, physically and mentally, for long years. Only around his 50th year he began to wrestle himself loose from that ‘doctor’. (That man, BTW, had snuck so deeply into Wilson’s life that he got his patient to change his will and leave half of his fortune to the doc, as a reward for ‘saving his patient’s life’).
Wilson fought and got back. I saw him live in London and Amsterdam, with superb shows, in 2002 and 2004. He’s recording two new albums now, one with Disney songs, and one with works by George Gershwin.
Mind over matter, or what?
Amen, let the man live the life he chooses, he’s not hurting anyone.
No, you're the first one. Actually, Herrnstein and Murray attribute it to genetics, iirc. They are more specific and attribute the difference to Ashkenazi Jews who are typically about 15 points higher in IQ than average folks.
Holy crap!! A neanderthal solved the world’s toughest math problem!!
No wonder those cavemen on the Geico commercials get so mad!
Speak english please. :)
I'm still dealing with the reason the local tribe on "F Troop" was called the "Howcowya's"
A proposition in topology put forward by Henri Poincaré in 1904. Poincaré was led to make his conjecture during his pioneering work in topology, the mathematical study of the properties of objects that stay unchanged when the objects are stretched or bent. In loose terms, the conjecture is that every three-dimensional object that has a set of sphere-like properties (i.e., is topologically equivalent to a sphere) can be stretched or squeezed until it is a three-dimensional sphere (a 3-sphere) without tearing (i.e., making a hole) it. Strictly speaking, the conjecture says that every closed, simply-connected three-manifold is homeomorphic to the three-sphere.
Poincaré proved the two-dimensional case and he guessed that the principle would hold in three dimensions. Determining if the Poincaré conjecture is correct has been widely judged the most important outstanding problem in topology so important that, in 2000, the Clay Mathematics Institute in Boston named it as one of seven Millennium Prize Problems and offered a $1 million prize for its solution. Since the 1960s, mathematicians have shown by various means that the generalized conjecture is true for all dimensions higher than three the four-dimensional case finally falling in 1982. But none of these strategies work in three dimensions. On Apr. 7, 2002 came reports that the Poincaré conjecture might have been proved by Martin Dunwoody of Southampton University, but within a few days a fatal flaw was found in his proof. Then, in April 2003, what appears to be a genuine breakthrough emerged during a series of lectures delivered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by the Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman of the Steklov Institute of Mathematics (part of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg). His lectures, entitled "Ricci Flow and Geometrization of Three-Manifolds," constituted Perelman's first public discussion of important results contained in two earlier preprints. Mathematicians will now scrutinize the validity of Perelman's work (which does not actually mention the Poincaré conjecture by name). In any event, the Clay Institute calls for a two-year cooling-off period is required before the prize can be awarded.
manifold A mathematical object that, in geometrical terms, is nearly "flat" on a small scale (though on a larger scale it may bend and twist into exotic and intricate forms). More precisely, a manifold is a topological space that looks locally like ordinary Euclidean space. Every manifold has a dimension, which is the number of coordinates needed to specify it in the local coordinate system. A circle, although curved through two dimensions, is an example of a one-dimensional manifold, or one-manifold. A close-up view reveals that any small segment of the circle is practically indistinguishable from a straight line. Similarly, a sphere's two-dimensional surface, even though it curves through three dimensions, is an example of a two-manifold. Seen locally, the surface, like that of a small portion of the Earth, appears flat. A manifold that is smooth enough to have locally well-defined directions is said to be differentiable. If it has enough structure to enable lengths and angles to be measured, then it is called a Riemannian manifold. Differentiable manifolds are used in mathematics to describe geometrical objects, and are also the most natural and general settings in which to study differentiability. In physics, differentiable manifolds serve as the phase space in classical mechanics, while four dimensional pseudo-Riemannian manifolds are used to model spacetime in general relativity.
homeomorphic In topology, two objects are said to be homeomorphic if they can be smoothly deformed into each other.
I am better than nothing?
There is certainly a strong cultural element, but in the old nurture vs. nature choice, there seems to be a strong genetic element as well.
One explanation, conjectural, is that in the shtetl the rabbi was the smartest man, and because of support from the community, was able to have the largest family. These smart children multipled.
I notice that Perelman’s engineer father is in Israel. Little Israel has become a scientific and engineering powerhouse, in part by an influx of highly talented Russian Jews.
This is a 4 simplex ONE balloon.
This is a 5 tetrahedra made of five balloons
All are assembled according to mathematical structures.
It is the simplest illustration I can think of.
Those are the same Jews who are overwhelmingly liberal.
Well. It took 48 posts to get there. That’s an improvement. Usually it only takes 5 or 6.
Besides, it’s a French conjecture and a Russian hermit.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.