Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Grigory (“Grisha”)Perelman is an unusual man — in very many respects. Living in near poverty with his mother in St. Petersburg, the forty-three year old Russian mathematician had a strange interest in an arcane problem known as the Poincare’ Conjecture. Proposed in 1904 by French mathematician, Henri Poincare’, the theorem contends that three-spheres are the only possible bounded three-dimensional spaces to contain no holes.
The conjecture also surmises that if a closed three-dimensional manifold is sufficiently like a sphere in that each loop in the manifold can be tightened to a point, then it is really just a three-dimensional sphere. This is the essential problem in topology which is the study of the spatial properties of objects that are preserved under steady deformations. Or, as a math professor of mine called it, “rubber band studies.”
In Cambridge Massachusetts the esteemed fellows at the Clay Mathematics Institute were also interested in a proof of the theorem, so much so in fact, that they offered a prize of one million dollars to anyone who could do it. Enter Perelman with two proofs which he deduced in 2002 and 2003. You can read them here. In 2010, the prize was offered and to the dismay of the offeror was summarily rejected.
Explained Perelman,”I learned how to calculate voids, along with my colleagues we know the mechanisms for filling in the social and economic voids.” The prodigy also added, “[e]mptiness is everywhere and it can be calculated, which gives us a great opportunity … I know how to control the universe. So tell me, why should I run for a million ?”
Perelman prefers to stay out of public view. “I do not think anything that I say can be of the slightest public interest. I am not saying that because I value my privacy, or that I am doing anything I want to hide. There are no top-secret projects going on here. I just believe the public has no interest in me.”
“…why should I run for a million ?” Er, I’ll take that question for you there Mr. Genius.
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger