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Who Says Mathematics Is Boring?

An update on a story reported in the last June issue on this web site. The story has taken some unusual twists...and neds to be updated as the previous story was written from a Chinese perspective...which now is suspect and possibly unethical.

First, Grigory Perelman solved the Poincaré Conjecture in 2002, an important problem claimed to be a "breakthrough in the study of shapes that experts say might help scientists figure out the shape of the universe."

Then, Grigory Perelman was awarded a Fields Medal, which is the "math"-equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

And then, Grigory Perelman (a 40-year-old recluse in Russia) refused to accept the award, because he wants to avoid self-promotion....and refuses to be recognized as one of the "figureheads" of the mathematical community.

And then, there is the problem of the prize money. His rejection of the Fields Medal carries an associated prize amount of about $15,000...and the solution of the Poincaré Conjecture carries an associated prize amount of about $1,000,000 from the Clay Foundation.

Meanwhile, mathematicians throughout the world discuss and argue about what should be done regarding Perelman's actions.

And finally, there is the problematic actions/ethics of the Professor Shing-Tung Yau, a Harvard mathematician. To understand the intrigue involved and the unusual twists in this unedning story, read the great article in the New Yorker. Some of it has even included in a video newscast.

Source: Attlanta Journal-Constitution, August 23, 2006