Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Grigory Perelman Turns Down $1M Millennium Prize

Comments Filter:
  • Why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:39PM (#32775236)

    Yeah, and do you know why? Because this guy believes that most advancements in science are cooperative efforts, and that recognizing individuals for merely putting the last piece in the jigsaw puzzle is intellectually dishonest: It devalues the work of everyone else who contributed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:41PM (#32775272)

    Common replies:

    1. I'll take it!

    2. He should just donate it to charity

    3. It's insulting to other mathematicians for him not to take it

    4. Give the guy his privacy

    5. Did you see how he lives?

    6. He should just give it to his family

    7. He's dumb; with that money he could be a recluse for much longer

    Glad we got those out of the way. You're welcome for time saved.

  • he did it because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:48PM (#32775458) Homepage Journal

    he thinks he doesn't deserve the lion's share of the prize because there were others who contributed to his (their) achievement

    the man has principles, that's for sure

    all of our work, whatever we do, whether science, math, movies, music... we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, or on the shoulders of those working right next to us. often recognition for making a contribution is just a matter of luck, of being the one who accumulates the most media coverage for being at the tipping point when there was a tipping point to be had (as if anyone knows where or when the tipping points lie)

    not that i'm denigrating grigory's contributions. HE is denigrating his own contributions. a genuinely humble man, even in the face of a cool million. he's more of an ascetic than i could ever be. he's married to his intellectual pursuits, he's foregone earthly indulgences because they will just get in the way of all he cares about doing. he knows that the money will ruin his mental discipline. locking himself in a room with his mind out of genuine intellectual passion

    i admire him, i could never do that. i like the earthly indulgences too much

  • by LearnToSpell (694184) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:49PM (#32775476) Homepage
    Oh, you don't have the kdawson->English plugin installed, do you?
  • Re:Why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Peach Rings (1782482) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:50PM (#32775488) Homepage

    The money would certainly be better left for a new prize that spurs more math research than donating it to some charity.

  • Re:Why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:53PM (#32775544)

    This reminds me of people being accused of mental unstability for being republican under a monarchy, pro-western under Soviet communism, atheist under a theocracy, religious among atheists, and so it goes on.

    My training is mathematics. I don't have this guy's brain, but I sure hope that if, by some chance, I discover anything remotely as interesting as he has, I'll not sell out either. If every bright man did it for enjoyment of his discipline, life would be glorious.

  • Re:Why (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:54PM (#32775568)

    I think it's pretty clear that the guy suffers some severe abnormal psychology. Not uncommon among the brilliant.

    Why? The purpose of these prize monies is to ensure that brilliant researchers have the ability to spend their time on what they are good at doing instead of worrying about where they work or how much they get paid.

    If this guy feels that making a living is not conflicting with his work, why is it irrational to leave the money with the institute so it can help somebody else with less financial security/high student loans, etc.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:55PM (#32775576) Homepage

    Actually, no...I was referring to someone who does math with the intent on solving problems, not gaining recognition.

  • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crazy Taco (1083423) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:57PM (#32775602)

    Because this guy believes that most advancements in science are cooperative efforts, and that recognizing individuals for merely putting the last piece in the jigsaw puzzle is intellectually dishonest: It devalues the work of everyone else who contributed.

    Cooperative efforts yes, but I disagree with the rest of your statement. The person who puts the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle together is the one who makes the work the rest did useful. So another guy pointed out the pathway? Yes, but he didn't solve the problem. His contributions may have been valuable, and he should be credited for what he did do, but starting something is not the same as finishing something. Starting something is not worth 1 million. Finishing something revolutionary is. Finding the answer that others, including the starter could not, is what make his work worth 1 million. And it doesn't devalue the work of those who's work he built on. It doesn't say they did nothing. It accurately values their contributions as good, but values his as the more revolutionary contribution, which it was.

    As the Clay institute even points out in the article, every mathematician follows in the work of others. Everyone does that. There's nothing to reward there. What not everyone does is tie all the pieces together into a revolutionary advance. THAT's why they want to award Perleman 1 million dollars and that's why they think he should accept it. And I agree, he should take the money as it is not a gift, but rather an earned reward for the hard, revolutionary work that he did.

  • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unr3a1 (1264666) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:57PM (#32775612)

    I think it's pretty clear that the man is very humble and selfless. Since when is being these things considered to be abnormal? He should be honored and respected for his actions, not called abnormal.

  • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Peach Rings (1782482) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:58PM (#32775630) Homepage

    By turning down the prize he brings wide attention to the issue, which could actually change the situation.

  • by Stumbles (602007) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:08PM (#32775822)
    This gave me a chuckle;

    Carlson said. "But what he did is definitely not the way things are normally done."

    And the only reason they took him seriously was from past work. So in other words; if someone cracks an astounding math problem and they don't know you; they will ignore you because you did not "follow their procedures"; even though your work might be the basis for faster than light travel or some current science fiction technology. What a bunch of self absorbed petty cry babies. They remind me of the scientists in HHGTTG for hanging the guy that created the infinite improbability drive; simply because they didn't like a smart-ass.

  • because... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:11PM (#32775888)

    Taxes would be a bitch. It's better to not exchange money in the first place.

  • by xirtam_work (560625) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:13PM (#32775912)

    How about they put the prize money into a scholarship fund. Surely he couldn't object to this. He could outline the type of benefactor he'd like to receive a stipend from time to time and leave the actual selection to a committee formed by associates of the Millennium Prize board.

  • Re:Why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld AT gmail DOT com> on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:15PM (#32775950)

    He may be humble, he may be selfless. But he also dances to the beat of his own drum. For instance, when he came up with his solution, instead submitting it for review, he posted it online. And when he returned from America after meeting with a number of people and wowing them with his intellect, he dropped of the face of the Earth for a good portion of time. He quit his teaching job, is unemployed and living with his mother, refusing to even see anyone.

    He has 'issues'. They may be minor issues where he is still functional and simply has switched his focus from math to something else, or they may be major issues where we'll be calling him the next Bobby Fisher in a decade. But regardless, he has them.

  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:20PM (#32776028) Homepage Journal

    rejecting the money is selfish, accepting the money is selfish, giving it to his mom is selfish, keeping it from his mom is selfish, etc. it all depends upon the motivation

    all that i am saying is that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, so therefore whatever his motivation for rejecting the money, his mother probably shares the same motivations in her personality. therefore it is likely that she would be happiest with him rejecting the money. giving the money to his mother may very well be the absolute worst thing in the world he could ever do to his mother

    so don't assume that your perspective is the only perspective that matters in situations like this, especially since you are not even in the situation. people are different, potentially very different from your own personality

  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:25PM (#32776122)

    It's an amazing demonstration of intellectual honesty. I'm in no way denigrating his contribution but the essential breakthrough was made by Hamilton's use of the Ricci Flow. However he's no doubt brilliant and the beauty of his solution seems to be enough for him.

  • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:26PM (#32776128)

    A bunch of people spent several years of their lives to validate that his solution was correct. The point is that those people wouldn't have bothered unless the source of the proposed solution was credible - because there are tons of crackpots who post all sorts of theories on the internet that aren't worth spending minutes let alone years of your life trying to validate or disprove.

  • Re:Why (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:30PM (#32776206)

    which could actually change the situation.

    lol. no.

    He'll be labeled an "eccentric genius" (aka kook) and the world will go on as before. Where've you been?

     

  • by hedwards (940851) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:42PM (#32776466)
    He did the right thing, money wasn't the motivating factor for him and he's acknowledge that in his mind he made a minor contribution to the solution. It would've been unethical for him to take the money knowing that it wasn't a motivating factor rather than leaving it where it is to be awarded to somebody else that might be so motivated.
  • by ACS Solver (1068112) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:05PM (#32776854)
    Forget charity - if he doesn't want the award, he could give it to his mother. Perelman isn't just great at math, he's also a weird guy and a hermit. In his case, he's living with his elderly mother whose main source of income is her pension, which is not a lot in Russia. He's being offered more than enough money to cover his mother's living and medicine costs, it would be a very prudent thing to do.
  • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kell Bengal (711123) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:16PM (#32777052)
    And you know what? It's his right to do any of those things. Just because people want to make him a celebrity doesn't mean that he shares their plans. Maybe he doesn't care about being famous, maybe he cares for his mother, maybe he likes long times of quiet contemplation in which to think, rather than the incessant rat race din that accompanies pretty much any other mode of life?

    You know what? Maybe he's not the one with issues. Maybe we are.
  • Re:Why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @03:30PM (#32778322)
    If many steps are taken to solve a problem, all by different people, there is no reason that the final step was necessarily the most difficult.

    Perhaps whoever made the first step could have also made the last step if he'd had the intermediate steps to build on. Or if he'd had the first step to build on, while he was still young.
  • by fyoder (857358) on Friday July 02, 2010 @03:55PM (#32778622) Homepage Journal

    Yeah we should give him a prize or sth. Oh, wait...

    Has anyone tried presenting him with a simple bouquet of flowers?

  • Re:Why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday July 02, 2010 @09:59PM (#32782600) Journal

    This reminds me of people being accused of mental unstability for being republican under a monarchy, pro-western under Soviet communism, atheist under a theocracy, religious among atheists, and so it goes on.

    Perelman doesn't wash for weeks, doesn't comb his beard, and have fingernails and toenails longer than an average blonde. He may not be insane, but he's definitely not normal under any reasonable definition.

    (then again, this is Slashdot...)

Two is not equal to three, even for large values of two.

Working...