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2006 Fields Medalists Announced 132

Posted by Zonk
from the i-like-math dept.
otisaardvark writes "The 2006 Fields medals, awarded every four years and described as the Nobel Prize for Mathematics, have been awarded at the International Congress of Mathematicians. The winners are Grigory Perelman (famous for the ideas underlying the proof of the Poincare and Thurston geometrization conjectures) — who declined the prize, Terence Tao (a child prodigy famous for proving there are arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions of primes, but who works mainly in nonlinear partial differential equations and harmonic analysis), Wendelin Werner (a probabilist working on links with 2D conformal field theories), and Andrei Okounkov (who works on the interface between algebraic geometry and physics)." Yours Truly wrote to mention that Grigory Perelman actually refused his Fields Medalist, on the grounds that he 'doesn't want to be seen as a figurehead'.
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2006 Fields Medalists Announced

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  • by wiggles (30088) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:00PM (#15957461)
    Am I the only one who read Zonk's tagline and saw "I like meth"?
  • Wrong Link (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:00PM (#15957468)
    Fixed link for Terence Tao [icm2006.org]
  • by theskipper (461997) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:01PM (#15957473)
    Something doesn't add up here.
    • by ad0gg (594412)
      And he refused to 1 million dollar cash award.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Saanvik (155780)

        From the last link,

        Ball said he asked Perelman if he would accept that money. Perelman said that if he won, he would talk to the Clay institute.
        Not a flat refusal, but ...
      • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:17PM (#15957591)
        Um, no, it hasn't been offered yet. From TFA:
        Observers suspect he will refuse a $1m (£529,000) prize offered by the Clay Mathematics Institute in Massachusetts, US, if his proof of the Poincare Conjecture stands up to scrutiny.

        A spokesperson for the Clay Mathematics Institute said it would put off making a decision on any award for two years. The $1m prize money could be be split between Perelman and US mathematician Richard Hamilton who devised the "Ricci flow" equation that forms the basis for the Russian's solution.
        • by ghost-j (882899)
          google "declined the prize", millions seem to do it.
        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          That's a different award. It is contained in a section of the article detailing the awards he has declined. Stop skimming and start perusing before you draw conclusions.
      • by smaerd (954708)
        The prize doesn't come with $1million. It comes with CAN$ 15,000. Which is about US$ 13,500.
        This is according the the BBC linked article about the refusal and the wikipedia entry for the Fields Medal.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rakishi (759894)
      Seems to have done the same in the past (ie: RTFA), and I remember that when he "published" his proof of the Poincare conjecture he did so with minimal fanfare (ie: dumped it on his website and ignored questions about it). It's odd only because most people want to be famous, make lots of money, be respected, be well known and so on even if they claim the contrary. I guess for this guy match is all that matters and everything else would just be a distraction.
      • by metlin (258108) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:39PM (#15957754) Journal
        I guess for this guy match (sic) is all that matters and everything else would just be a distraction.

        Umm, no -- Maths is apparently a painful subject for him. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] (emphasis mine):

        "On August 22, 2006, Perelman was awarded a Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid. The Fields Medal is the highest award in mathematics; two to four medals are awarded every four years. Perelman received the award "for his contributions to geometry and his revolutionary insights into the analytical and geometric structure of the Ricci flow"[3].

        However, Perelman did not turn up at the ceremony[4], and declined to accept the medal.[5] He has consistently been described by those who know him as shy and unworldly. In the 1990s, he turned down a prestigious prize from the European Mathematical Society. According to Overbye and other sources, Perelman suffered a bitter split with the Steklov Institute (which failed to re-elect him as member[6]) in the spring of 2003, and according to the testimony of his friends currently finds mathematics a painful topic to talk about, even going so far as to say that they no longer interest him[7]. He is currently jobless and living with his mother in St Petersburg, subsisting on her £30-a-month pension.[8] This reminds some observers of previous examples of "disappearances" of extremely talented mathematicians from the mathematical scene, including Alexander Grothendieck.

        Perelman is also due to receive a share of a Millennium Prize, should his proof become generally accepted. However, he has not pursued formal publication of his proof in a peer-reviewed mathematics journal, which the rules for this prize require - instead, he published the proof that he had been working on for 10 years on the internet.[9] The Clay Mathematics Institute has explicitly stated that the governing board which awards the prizes may change the formal requirements, in which case Perelman would presumably become eligible to receive a share of the prize. Perelman, however, appears to be uninterested in the money."
        • by colmore (56499)
          It's unfortunate that many truly brilliant people suffer from mental illness. I hope that one way or another that guy is able to find happiness.
          • by mickwd (196449) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @03:48PM (#15958210)
            "I hope that one way or another that guy is able to find happiness."

            Perhaps he has.

            Perhaps it doesn't involve large amounts of money and the winning of prizes.
          • only on slashdot would a refusal of a monetary prize be considered proof of a mental illness.
            • by MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) <dylan&dylanbrams,com> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:42PM (#15959015) Homepage Journal
              "Only in America" you mean. Slashdot is one of the few places where it might be considered sane.

              "only on Slashdot would refusal of the money that comes with a Fields or Millenium award be considered insane," would be a more accurate statement, since Slashdotters are probably some of the few who even know what either is.
              • A lot more people know what the Fields Medal is than you think, thanks to "Good Will Hunting." Most

                Good job appealing to the elitism of the moderators. Don't spend all that karma in one place.

                • Something's mentioned in passing in Good Will Hunting and suddenly it's a household word? Okay. As a note, the money comes from the Millenium prize and not the Fields medal....

                  Additionally, my karma's beyond uber so I don't consider it the game you apparently do. The reason for this is a string of generally careful choices of words.... There are exceptions, but good karma is achievable for anyone. In that vein, you might consider what the purpose of your comment was beyond expressing an elitism abou
            • by colmore (56499)
              Generally when happy people are offered awards for achievement in their field of endevour, they accept them.

              He might be merely atypical, but when he says that talking about mathematics is painful, and he rejects honest praise (this isn't really a Bob Dylan screw-you-i'm-not-the-voice-of-any-generation type thing), that does sort of indicate that he might be a bit troubled.

              I myself have some mental health issues, and taking praise and feeling pride in accomplishments are issues that I have, though not to thi
          • by StikyPad (445176)
            Or maybe fortunate that people with mental illness can still be brilliant [66.102.7.104].
      • Mathematics is abstract truth. Who gives a shit what the mathematical community thinks? He made the discovery and is under no obligations to interact with them should he accept the prize.
        • by Rakishi (759894)
          Huh? When did I say anything to the contrary, seems like you're the dumbass here.
          • by StarKruzr (74642)
            What?

            Oh. No, not you, I was referring to the guy who rejected the prize in the first place. :p
      • by Abcd1234 (188840)
        It's odd only because most people want to be famous, make lots of money, be respected, be well known and so on

        What's more odd, to me, is that you think that. Maybe I'm unusual, but about the only thing I actually care about is "[being] respected". The rest I could take or (more likely) leave.
        • by Rakishi (759894)
          With all the work-a-holics and lottery players in the US money seems to be very important. It's also the most logical of all those things to desire. Even if, like me, you have little current need for money itself (ie: don't need to buy/want to buy expensive things, etc.) it still provides a security blanket. If shit hits the fan the more money you have the better your chances of getting through things.
    • No, if you read the summary again, you'll see that he refused his Fields Medalist, which is an entirely different thing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by theskipper (461997)
      Note to self:
      Don't try for a +5 funny FP with /. math geeks around.

      (slinks away sheepishly...)
  • by eln (21727) * on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:03PM (#15957492) Homepage
    I think Perelman declined the medal because his solution was so obvious. I mean, who among us hasn't proven those theorems while eating a donut and idly scribbling on our napkins?

    As for declining the million bucks though, well, maybe "genius" is too strong a word for this guy. I think a much wiser course of action for him to take would be to accept that prize and donate the money to a worthy charity such as, for example, me.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:19PM (#15957608)
      Indeed. Once, when I was trying to setup a router for my shared flat I got in a little over my head (what with the DHCP and all, I'm not that smart) and accidentally proved the Poincare conjecture.
    • by joshdick (619079)
      Actually, the prize money likely will go to a charity, such as the Math Olympiad.
      • by JamesP (688957)
        Unless there is a Math Special Olympiad, I wouldn't be donating my money to it...

    • ... having demonstrated that winning the Fields medal is possible, Perelman thereafter felt no need to bother actually receiving it, as the effort would have been redundant and pointless. Instead, he immediately set about theorizing a higher-order space in which Fields medals exist in multiple dimensions. He is even now working on an analysis of the connectedness of prize sets in the topology of the n-medal space.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by seminumerical (686406)
        The psychologist wanted to see how a physicist and a mathematician solved problems. He devised two experiments.

        Experiment I: He placed an empty bucket in the first corner of a room, opposite to the second corner which had a tap. Then in a third corner he had some combustible material. His instructions to them were: "I will start a fire in the third corner by burning the stuff. Your task is to put it out." Well, both the physicist and the mathematician did the obvious thing when their turn came -- they too

      • by jd (1658)
        ...he'd shown that the Fields Medal award system had no holes and was therefore topologically equivalent to a sphere, as per the Poincare Hypothesis that he had proved earlier. However, as he had proved that since cows are spherical [nasa.gov], it follows that the medal must also be topologically the same as a cow, since the transform works both ways. A cow can weight 850 lbs. Clearly this is utterly impractical to carry, never mind wear as a medal. Besides which, it would obviously exceed the maximum weight for carry
        • by bensch128 (563853)
          Actually a cow (and all mammals, i think) are topologically equivalant to a torus because of the digestive system.

          Maybe it's because Peralman is not topologically equivalant to the fields medal that he didn't accept it. ;)
          Ben
  • by Lord Aurora (969557) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:04PM (#15957495)
    ...about a guy who refuses the Fields Medal because he "doesn't want to be seen as a figurehead."

    It'd look like a publicity stunt if it were anyone other than our very own resident hermit Perelman...he's one of the very few truly quiet geniuses in the world.

    TFA also says he's not too interested in the $1 million for the Poincare business...now that is insane. Sure, fame is a bit overrated, but money? At least he could buy himself a really, really nice hermit shack in the mountains.

    • by dr_dank (472072)
      about a guy who refuses the Fields Medal because he "doesn't want to be seen as a figurehead."

      Maybe he just didn't feel like meeting Kim Fields to accept the prize. The Facts of Life wasn't a very good show, anyway.
    • by kfg (145172) *
      Sure, fame is a bit overrated, but money? At least he could buy himself a really, really nice hermit shack in the mountains.

      I was bemoaning just the other day how much money it takes to have a nice little hermit shack in the mountains these days. Seriously.

      The legal hassles and concomitant legal fees (not to mention the having to deal with lawyers) pretty much take all the point out of it.

      Seriously.

      KFG
      • I'm in the same boat. Say I quit my job, sell off all the junk and buy a few acres near Tupper Lake. Then I build my small, energy efficient off grid hermit shack and live off the land. But how the heck do I pay my property taxes for the next 30-40 years. Surely there is a way to live completely independently of anyone and everything. Well, except for my wife, but she's the one putting these crazy ideas in my head anyways. 'Course that makes it more love shack than hermit shack.....
        • by kfg (145172) *
          Surely there is a way to live completely independently of anyone and everything.

          Sit on the same log in the Adirondack forest for more than three days and you'll be getting a visit from the forest cops if you haven't gotten written permission first. Just to hang out in the woods for awhile you've got to go outlaw and/or keep moving, although the Tupper Lake area is certainly a nice place to do it. I used to play the Long Lake Bluegrass Festival and always looked forward to getting into that neck of the wood
      • Perhaps he could give the money to his mother. Isn't she is supporting him on 30 quid a month? She would like to have the medal too, to show her friends over coffee. Mothers need things that sons don't.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by StikyPad (445176)
      That's because Jesus [bbc.co.uk] isn't interested in fame or fortune.

      Wait.. scratch that first part.

      (I know, I know.. I shamelessly re-used my own joke in the very same discussion, but funny mods generate no karma anyway).
    • by cylcyl (144755)
      Indeed, I think that his mom should claim the prize for him for having to take care of such an eccentric person
  • Alan Smithee. That guy makes good films!
  • I hereby call dibs on Grigory Perelman's medal.

    Go ahead, check the comment history. I am the first, therefore (omiting some trivial intermediate steps)... the medal is mine.

    See you at the top, non-figureheads!
  • Sort of ironic. (Score:3, Informative)

    by BigZaphod (12942) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:07PM (#15957521) Homepage
    By refusing the award, Grigory Perelman is actually turning himself into an even more notable figure than if he'd just accept it quietly. This way he becomes a quirky genius mathematician that fits right into a common stereotype. Everyone loves to call attention to those who fit their stereotypes.
    • Not just himself, but the medal in general. It's making mainstream news headlines when I'm rather certain that if he'd just accepted it like the others, it wouldn't even be noticed by the average person reading the news of the day.

      But at this pace, it'll be a thousand years before mathmatical awards are televised like the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the other entertainment awards. Although they did do it on Futurama...
      • Re:Sort of ironic. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Coryoth (254751) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @04:40PM (#15958650) Homepage Journal
        But at this pace, it'll be a thousand years before mathematical awards are televised like the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the other entertainment awards.

        There is a very simple reason for this - a very large number of people in the world have seen many of the movies nominated for an Oscar, several of the TV shows nominated for Emmys, and have often heard much of the music nominated for Grammys. That is, there is a large viewing public with a vested interest in the results all hoping that "their" pick will win. On the other hand the number of people who have read work by those nominated for Field's medals is rather smaller. Consider, for example, the Nobel prizes where the most widely publicised (except for occasional science winners who made sufficiently significant breakthroughs that they were published widely in the popular press prior to winning) are the literature and peace prizes; that is, those prizes with whom the broadest range of the public can expect to be familiar with potential nominees.

        I agree that it would be nice if more people took an interest in, say, the Nobel prizes in the sciences and Fields medals, but that would involve a much broader range of people taking an interest in the cutting edge of science and mathematics: a worthy goal, but a somewhat unlikely one. The cutting edge tends to be cutting because it takes a lot of work to get there. Awards ceremonies for cutting edge cinema tend to be as generally ignored as awards for cutting edge math (the only reason Cannes, for example, has gained any significant coverage is the degree to which it has mainstreamed itself). Perhaps it would be more productive to consider awards in math and science for people who do an excellent job of popularising or explaining existing material - you know, the sort of awards that Feynman would have regularly swept in physics, and would go to people like Ian Stewart in mathematics. Certainly there is an available niche for it, and more publicity for people who help to bring science and mathematics more into mainstream discourse could hardly be a bad thing.
        • Perhaps it would be more productive to consider awards in math and science for people who do an excellent job of popularising or explaining existing material

          Such prizes already exist (though are not well known outside the mathematical/scientific community). Most famous is probably the Kalinga prize [unesco.org]. Other examples include the Michael Faraday medal [royalsoc.ac.uk], the Peano prize, and at a undergraduate level the AMS Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition [ams.org]. There are almost certainly many others I don't know.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kfg (145172) *
      By refusing the award, Grigory Perelman is actually turning himself into an even more notable figure than if he'd just accept it quietly.

      It is said that Diogenes once walked into Plato's home and starting stamping around on his carpets, yelling:

      "I trample on the pride of Plato."

      Plato is said to have looked at him and responded:

      "Yes, with a pride of your own."

      KFG
    • by b4stard (893180)
      To quote a fellow math geek discussing how to make math popular and how to get rid of the quirky genius mathematician stereotype:
      "Why do you have to be so f*cking crazy Perelman?!"
    • by Anthony (4077) *
      Wait, I can feel a movie coming on. A Distant Mind .A young russian boy, devoted to his mother, idles his time by the glow of the hearth pursuing mathematical interests. Later, He falls in love with a woman who rejects him. He withdraws and spends the rest of his life solving Poincarres conjecture. Starring Ben Stiller as the mathematical genius, Glenn Close as his devoted mother and Naomi Watts as the unattainable object of his desires.
      • Ben Stiller? Lean over here so I can slap you. Everyone knows the only man for that part is Pauly Shore.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:19PM (#15957612)
    International Congress of Mathematicians... I bet that conference is a BABE-fest!!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by colmore (56499)
      Mathematics tends to be a bit better gender-integrated than, for instance, physics or computer scientists.

      I had a pretty hot abstract algebra prof. once.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by jd (1658)
        better gender-integrated


        Well, what did you expect, once they developed calculus?

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        I had a pretty hot abstract algebra prof. once.
        I demand a rigorous proof, ideally in the form of a naked pic.
    • by gatzke (2977) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:01PM (#15959127) Homepage Journal
      I have been to SIAM meetings, and female representation is not as bad as some other specialties. I work in chemical process control, and the American Control Conference is probably the conference with the most XY I have ever seen, percentage wise. Math+computers+robotics/automation for some reason does not attract too many women, but there are a few.

  • by chooki (172611) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:23PM (#15957646) Homepage
    ... if it meant wearing scarves with your tweed jacket every frickin' day of the year, like that insufferable professor in "Good Will Hunting." He won the Fields, too.
  • by mclaincausey (777353) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:27PM (#15957681) Homepage
    I know they say our generation is growing up much slower than previous generations, but calling a 31 year-old a child might be a bit excessive:P
  • Anyway, it is nice to see another BIG problem solved. Also, it maybe good to start to ask the best in the field to submit some high quality problems while solve others. :-)
  • by alienfluid (677872) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:45PM (#15957793) Homepage
    Way to make me feel dumb. [wikipedia.org]

    ICM gold before age 13, SAT math score of 760 at age 8, seriously, what the hell.

    I wonder if he ever appeared for the Putname exams.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Arwing (951573)

      I went to Terrence's website on Standford and looked over his classes and homework assignments and I didn't understand ANYTHING. I guess that's what you get for taking a leet professor in a leet college.


      One interesting note tho, he did say you will pass his class if you just show up, but your letter grade will depend on your homework, I wondering if that's how it works in a ultra high level class like that

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @03:22PM (#15958036)

        I went to Terrence's website on Standford and looked over his classes and homework assignments and I didn't understand ANYTHING. I guess that's what you get for taking a leet professor in a leet college.

        Given that Terence's name is not Terrence, that Stanford is not spelled Standford, and that he is a professor at UCLA, not Stanford, is it surprising that you didn't undertand ANYTHING?
      • by colmore (56499) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @03:44PM (#15958179) Journal
        typos aside,

        If you don't have any background in formal mathematics, I doubt you'd understand the homework assignments for upper-level mathematics coursework at a ho-hum state school. Mathematics is as much learning a language as it is learning a science, so you're no more dumb for not understanding his assignments than you are for not understanding an assignment in a class on Sanskrit.

        That said, Undergraduate mathematics (algebra, analysis, some degree of differential equations, topology, a handful of other topics of interest) isn't that different from school to school. Even at "leet" (ugh) schools, mathematics is a common major for many students who do not intend to become mathematicians. Law schools like it, a lot of science types take it as a second major, and for indecisive students it's a bit more job friendly than History (though probably less useful, you're more likely to have to write at a job than prove Stoke's theorem). So while the coursework may be abstract, there's sort of a ceiling on the difficulty of major requirements, even at top schools, there's a limit to how much headache students with non-academic ambitions are going to want to endure. His grad students, on the other hand, are, I'm sure, worked to the bone.
    • Warning: Overly fawning post follows.

      I had Terence Tao as a math teacher for my upper-division linear algebra class, Math 115A. It was, in retrospect, the best class I ever took. As a frosh CS major, I did poorly in my first two lower-division math classes at UCLA, but the two after that my sophomore year, I did well. I convinced myself that I was a naive freshman when I did poorly, and that I was more studious now. I then decided that I would add a math minor to my CS major, which required taking five addi
    • by ewe2 (47163) *
      Here's something ironic: a local Australian newspaper noted that the faculty under which Terence got his degrees no longer exists. In Australia, we give you our smart people and whatever else we can dig up.
  • by Se7enLC (714730) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @02:58PM (#15957895) Homepage Journal
    Ze Frank [zefrank.com] says it best.

    "Known as the Nobel Prize of Mathematics, the prestigious Fields Medal was awarded to four people under the age of forty that you wouldn't want to get trapped on an elevator with...."

    He then goes on to disprove some of Grigory Perelman's more famous conjectures using a donut.
  • by dildo (250211) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @03:02PM (#15957907)
    ... to refuse a major math prize. Alexander Grothendieck [wikipedia.org] also won the Fields medal but turned down the Crafoord price, a similar but less prestigious award for mathematical achievement.

    John Paul Sartre also turned down a Nobel Prize because he did not want himself associated with institutions or prizes.

    I wonder if in the future an individual will turn down one of these major prizes on the grounds that the bulk of his/her knowledge was discovered, developed, and perpetuated by the work of people in society as a whole.

    I can see this argument being made in Mathematics, where any serious and insightful contribution is necessarily based on dozens, if not hundreds, of years of complex and insightful mathematical discoveries. During my mathematical education I truly felt like I was a history class and only the insane math olympiad types ever managed to catch up with the present. (This is true except for fluid dynamics and combinatorics -- those fields are still wide open because fluid dynamics is extraordinarily hard and combinatorics is fairly new as a serious mathematical discipline.)

    I personally still think that some people deserve special recognition for advancing the whole field as a whole -- I believe the hypothetical argument above is not very compelling.

    Perelman, Wiles, and most other serious mathematicians like to be left alone. I'm not sure that Perelman will like it if NPR is calling him for comment about the latest mathematical discovery. I think his argument against becoming a figurehead is fairly sound; it is good that the Clay institute and the Fields people are not taking his refusals as a sign of disrespect.

    Moreover, the Clay Institute intends to use the $1m dollars to promote Mathematics education in Russia. I think all parties are winners here.
    • by mathcam (937122) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @03:45PM (#15958184)
      > Perelman, Wiles, and most other serious mathematicians like to be left alone.

      This is hardly the case. Most mathematicians (yes, even "serious" ones) realize that mathematics is not exclusively writing down a series of logical statements which prove difficult theorems. The lifeforce of mathematics, and thus the mathematician, is doing so and then *communicating* those results to their fellow mathematicians, and indeed to the rest of the world. I suspect that most (but obviously not all) mathematicians would be giddy with delight at so many people taking interest in their field of expertise (their work in particular), and the opportunity to talk about it at length. Further, for reasons not quite so abstract, mathematicians and mathematics departments rely on funding, so it behooves mathematicians to self-aggrandize -- let people know how big of a deal this is, why it was so important, and why people should keep paying them to keep doing it.

      > Moreover, the Clay Institute intends to use the $1m dollars to promote Mathematics education in Russia. I think all parties are winners here.

      I'm not sure where this came from, but this is almost certainly not the case. The Clay Institute has yet to officially decide how the prize will be distributed among mathematician(s) (if at all), let alone a contingency plan for what to do if one of the recipients declines the award.
      • by dildo (250211)
        >> Perelman, Wiles, and most other serious mathematicians like to be left alone.

        >This is hardly the case. Most mathematicians (yes, even "serious" >ones) realize that mathematics is not exclusively writing down a >series of logical statements which prove difficult theorems.

        You're certainly correct about this. But I'm talking about non-mathematicians. The mathematicians I've met at MIT do talk frequently and excitedly to other mathematicians and talented students, but they don't have a lot of
      • by Stalyn (662)
        However Math stands apart from other fields where one can be right in something and never need others to confirm your accomplishment. The only reason in Mathematics to introduce your findings is for the benefit for others (Perelman's apparent motivation) and to seek praise.

        Also there should be two things that should be obvious from Perelman's behavior. One he is not very good at explaining his results. He might suffer from a mild form of dyslexia where it is extraordinarily difficult to explain one's ideas.
      • by tajmahall (997415)

        This is hardly the case. Most mathematicians (yes, even "serious" ones) realize that mathematics is not exclusively writing down a series of logical statements which prove difficult theorems. The lifeforce of mathematics, and thus the mathematician, is doing so and then *communicating* those results to their fellow mathematicians, and indeed to the rest of the world. I suspect that most (but obviously not all) mathematicians would be giddy with delight at so many people taking interest in their field of ex

  • by superwiz (655733) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @04:26PM (#15958536) Journal
    Seriously, how often do you meet an average person who's even heard of a Field's medal (say vs the people who've heard of the Nobel)? But now that this story is all over the place, the words Field's medal will enter common vernacular again. BTW, if you read carefully, it sounds like Andrei Okounkov's work is the most interesting of all the nominees. He tied together "Probability"
    (<intended pun>probably</intended pun> meaning measure theory), representation theory and algebraic geometry. This is about as cool as cool can get in math.
    • If anyone wants a pdf of the New Yorker article on the conflict between Yau and Perelman, send an email to
      nld2thx at yahoo dot com
      As of this morning, the NYer hadn't posted the article online, so it is either this or go buy the hard copy...uggggh
      • by nld2thx (514206)
        I have received word that the New Yorker [newyorker.com] will make article available online today or tomorrow. The article gives a bit of background on the story, and attempts to get a deeper look into the reason's for Perelman's actions.
  • by Xybot (707278)
    Last I Heard he'd gone bush somewhere in Russia. Let's face it this guy is just not interested in Awards/Prizes, he just wants to play with his math and be left alone.

    Fair enough I say.
  • Perelman was more than happy to accept the Fields Medal, he only objected to the configuration of the medal itself. "A disk shaped medal is not to my liking..." Perelman was heard to say, "...I prefer a spherical one. I've explained to the committee that the two are topologically equivalent, but they refuse to listen to reason. It's barbaric! Tell them to call me when they can do something in three dimensions" he said in disgust.
  • I cannot believe that Colbert was not rewarded for his groundbreaking research into new techniques for transforming donuts into balls without tearing them. This is an absolute travesty and demonstrates with crystal clarity that the terrorists have already won.
  • I am pretty sure he is now going by the name Andrei Arlovski and is fighting in the UFC. --SMD over and out

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