A Russian 44-year-old mathematics genius Dr Grigori Perelman has solved one of the most knotty and oldest (around 100 years old) mathematical problems in the world called Poincaré conjecture.
The Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, last week honored Perelman for his solution to a problem posed by French mathematician Henri Poincaré.
The theorem – known as Poincaré’s conjecture – involves the deep structure of three-dimensional shapes. It is one of seven elusive challenges set by the institute, each carrying a $1m reward.
It took the world’s leading mathematicians several years to verify that Perelman had definitively solved the problem in a paper published in 2002.
This humble, currently jobless and a bit stubborn genius lives an isolated life with his mother and sister in his hometown of St. Petersburg. Perelman has never communicated with the Russian press. “You are disturbing me. I am picking mushrooms,” he told a journalist on phone who managed to get in touch with him. After performing some teaching in American universities in 2003, worked as a researcher in St. Petersburg’s Steklov Mathematics Institute till 2005. Perelman has apparently given up on mathematics, dismayed at the intellectual and moral failings of his peers.
He had refused in 2006 to collect the math’s equivalent of an Oscar, the Fields Medal. Perelman said in 2006 that he did not want to become a public persona. He also expressed his concerns about dishonest methods which many scientists use in their work. According to media reports he has turned downed the prize money of $1m and barricade himself in his apartment. On the other hand Communists of St. Petersburg wants to spend his million on building academic townships for talented Russian scientists. The rest will be used to maintain Lenin’s Tomb on Moscow’s Red Square.
Will the genius accept the prize? There is still no answer to this question but he surely registers his name in history with letters of gold.
Image: The Age