b4stard writes "The New Yorker has an interesting article on the recent proof of the Poincaré conjecture and the controversy surrounding it. This is a very nice read, which, among other things, sheds some light on what may have motivated Perelman in refusing to accept the Fields medal." From the article: "The Fields Medal, like the Nobel Prize, grew, in part, out of a desire to elevate science above national animosities. German mathematicians were excluded from the first I.M.U. congress, in 1924, and, though the ban was lifted before the next one, the trauma it caused led, in 1936, to the establishment of the Fields, a prize intended to be 'as purely international and impersonal as possible.'"
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