Probably the smartest mathematician of all time rejects $1 million!
Russian mathematician Grigory Perelman, aka Grisha, who became world renowned after solving the worlds toughest mathematical problems solved the Poincaré conjecture and then disappeared in St. Petersburg. On Thursday he came out and rejected the $1 million prize that Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Mass., had promised to anyone who could achieve the feat.
Interfax, a Russian news agency, quoted him as saying “I have refused. You know, I had quite a lot of reasons both for and against. That is why I took so long to make up my mind.”
“He was, as usual, quite pleasant, though quite firm in his decision,” James Carlson, president of the Clay institute, said.
The problem was named after Henri Poincaré, the great French polymath. It has taken mathematicians on a long and fruitless chase for more than a hundred years.
It proposes that ‘any three-dimensional space without holes is essentially a sphere’.
In 2003, Dr. Perelman posted a number of papers on the Internet and claimed that he had proved the conjuncture, and with it a tougher but relative problem by the Cornell mathematician William Thurston, he however stressed that he accomplished the feat by building on work by Richard Hamilton, a Columbia University mathematician.
The president of the Clay Institute, James Carlson, said that Perelman was a mathematician of "extraordinary power and creativity" and that it was he alone who solved the intractable Poincaré's conjecture. "All mathematicians follow the work of others, but only a handful make breakthroughs of this magnitude," he said.
That thought however does not go down well with Perelman and he expressed his thoughts by saying that Dr. Hamilton deserved as much credit as he did and that “To put it short, the main reason is my disagreement with the organized mathematical community. I don’t like their decisions; I consider them unjust.”
After a brief amount of time spent on solving the problem while on tour in the U. S., he went back to Russia and left it to the world’s mathematicians to pick up the pieces and conclude if he indeed had solved the conjuncture. Following that he returned to Russia, moved in with his mother and ceased communicating with the outside world.
The Clay institute said that during fall this year it would announce how the prize money was going to be spent.
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