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Find Perelman June 19, 2007

Posted by apetrov in Near Physics, Science, Uncategorized.

Grigori Perelman, the guy who (a) proved Thurston’s geometrization conjecture (and, along the way, the famous Poincaré conjecture), (b) was awarded the Fields Medal (the “Nobel Prize of mathematics”), but declined to accept it, (c) is eligible for a $1M Millennium Prize from the Clay Mathematics Institute, but did not claim it, is somewhat of a strange celebrity in Russia. When he sent his papers to ArXiv (and the proofs were checked and found correct), the press was all over him, but he just hid from all the attention in his modest St. Petersburg appartment — and even stayed inside there without going outside! Now, that’s unusual…

Now that press turned their attention to bigger and better things (like Paris Hilton’s affair), he apparently got the long-sought rest… not quite, at least in the geek community! Some fellow (user of LiveJournal) spotted him in St. Petersburg’s subway and snapped some pictures of him (see here). Of course, they will never appear on front-page of CNN or other major news outlets — there is no way that the life of a great scientist is more interesting than the life of a teenager charged with DWI…

My question here is this: what makes people tirelessly watch Paris Hilton or
Britney Spears as they go by their lives, drinking and/or partying? Is it some sublimation of a natural human desire of having everything but doing nothing? Maybe someone should release a computer game “Find Perelman”, where one has to analyse clues, locate the mathematician and convince him to accept his Fields Medal… kinda like “Myst“… This should bring some attention to math… but of course I’m just mumbling… 🙂


1. Ted Hughes - July 5, 2007

Perelman’s point of view respects Poincare’s idea of scientific discovery. That is the scientists reward is “The Joy of Comprehension”.

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