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Math The Almighty Buck

Grigory Perelman Turns Down $1M Millennium Prize 226

Kleiba writes "After turning down the prestigious Field Medal in 2006 for his contributions to mathematics, the reclusive Russian mathematician Grigory Perelman announced yesterday that he is rejecting a $1 million Millennium Prize from the Clay Mathematics Institute for solving the Poincare conjecture."
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Grigory Perelman Turns Down $1M Millennium Prize

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  • A true mathmetician (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:40PM (#32775250) Homepage

    There aren't too many of 'em left out there. I wouldn't be surprised if he had requested his name to be withheld from being publicly acknowledged.

  • Re:Why (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:48PM (#32775452) Journal
    "recognizing individuals for merely putting the last piece in the jigsaw puzzle is intellectually dishonest: It devalues the work of everyone else who contributed."

    He's got a good point, so why doesn't he take the money and pay all those he believes should be paid for their contribution? Perelman says his contribution is no greater than Richard Hamilton's who first suggested a pathway toward the solution. Why not give the money to him or scores of other great mathematicians?
  • Re:Why (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rivalz ( 1431453 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:54PM (#32775560)

    Either that or he has another theory that the monetary system flawed and fails to adequately characterize the effort = reward by the fact that Money is it's own reward or Money = More Money.

  • Re:Why (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quadelirus ( 694946 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:57PM (#32775616)
    I thought it was because he was angry with some well known profs who he had talked to about his proof method and they had pretty much shut him out when he was a grad student or postdoc or something, and that because these awards are for leaders of the mathematical community, and he feels ostracized by the community, he won't participate.

    That said, the dude is being supported by his mother--last I checked--which, if true, in my mind means he ought to take the money and give it to his mom if he doesn't want it.
  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:03PM (#32775716) Journal

    First off, charities can get quite political.

    This guy doesn't see of it as his money to determine where it ends up. He is just doing his part. He does not require a monetary award for his actions, he believes the benefit will come from him doing his work.

    He's not a mathmetician for his own benefit, so he's basically trying to say that by saying "Take the money out of the equation".

    Haha, see what I did there?

  • is pretty damn proud of him, for doing the math, AND rejecting the prize

    his value system came from somewhere

  • Re:Why (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:33PM (#32776268) Journal

    I think you (and they) do not understand Perelman, his mind does not work like that. They should stop annoying him by trying to give him the money.

    A better way to give Grigory Perelman 1 million dollars is to give a monthly allowance to whoever happens to be supporting him (and doing a good enough job of it).

    Maybe they could secretly[1] give the money to his mom and sister (maybe a small lump sum in addition to the monthly allowance). They were/are supporting him[2].

    He does not seem to be the sort of guy who can take good care of himself. I suspect that the people taking care of him allow him to focus on stuff like math, otherwise he might not be healthy enough to do so (or even alive).

    [1] He may not take it well if he knew.

    [2] [] []

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:39PM (#32776390)
    The truly great ones tend to be, and I haven't seen any evidence that there's many of them out there at any given time. Mostly because most choose to go under the radar. But it does seem to require a certain amount of brokenness to the thalamus region of the brain to even get these sorts of ideas to begin with, and that tends to be somewhat counter the purpose of desiring recognition.

    Also, trying to gain recognition is counter the process as it tends to drive people to fence in their thinking to areas that are somewhat conventional, if you want to look at the conventional you're not going to discover things like relativity or most of quantum physics. It just doesn't work. Quantum physics actually makes a whole lot more sense than is generally accepted, but it requires a certain amount of brokenness to comprehend how things like the Copenhagen interpretation apply to everyday life. And why that's surprisingly important to not know when one wishes to function in society with other sentient beings.
  • Perelman (Score:2, Interesting)

    by turkeyfish ( 950384 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:44PM (#32777618)

    Perelman's character and sense of personal integrity is as good as his mathematics, if not better!

    Its a bit of a shame he chooses to be so reclusive as so many of us could learn from this man.

  • Re:Why (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:58PM (#32777882)

    It's hard, you know? The thing is to be able to think big thoughts, you have to turn some stuff off. You let go of things like nourishment or relationships in favor of your work so that you can use that extra space to squeeze in another algorithm. Maybe you ultra simplify a few routines in order free up those resources for your more important thoughts. Maybe you create a simple "survival" algorithm that allows you get dressed or shaved or to the office or to the grocer using the same small function set. But to an outsider you look like you are a mental case because the algorithm doesn't perfectly apply to each situation, so your clothes aren't quite right, and your walk to work takes a strange route. maybe you start to assign symlinks to certain objects for various values that are necessary for your work, which starts to hinder your ability to communicate with those around you. You try to avoid novel situations because you don't appreciate the distractions.

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer