Grigori Perelman Solved a 100-year-old Math Problem and refused a $1 Million Prize

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Grigori Yakovlevich Perelman  is a Russian mathematician who made landmark contributions to Riemannian geometry and geometric topology before apparently withdrawing from mathematics.

In 1994, Perelman proved the soul conjecture. In 2003, he proved Thurston’s geometrization conjecture. This consequently solved in the affirmative the Poincaré conjecture, posed in 1904, which before its solution was viewed as one of the most important and difficult open problems in topology.

In May 2006, a committee of nine mathematicians voted to award Perelman a Fields Medal for his work on the Poincaré conjecture. However, Perelman declined to accept the prize.

I’m not interested in money or fame,’ he is quoted to have said at the time. ‘I don’t want to be on display like an animal in a zoo. I’m not a hero of mathematics. I’m not even that successful; that is why I don’t want to have everybody looking at me.”  He did not attend the ceremony, and declined to accept the medal, making him the only person to decline this prestigious prize.

On June 8, 2010, he did not attend a ceremony in his honour at the Institut Océanographique, Paris to accept his $1 million prize.

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