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Aug6-07, 09:02 AM
There could be genuine reasons why past great mathematicians interact and socialise so much less then today's mathematicians. In the past traveling would have been expensive and time consuming and education was poor so not many people had the expertise so meeting other mathematicians were harder and not that beneficial. Knowledge didn't spread that quickly as not many were doing it so one can afford to work alone. Moreoever Copy right was a servere issue back then. So it would have been more beneficial for the best to be alone. Hence no need to develop one's social skills in order to succeed at maths.
Today things are much different as fields are more specialised so collaboration is more important and is cheaper to do due to cheap communication costs. However there are still a handful of elites who can and choose to do it alone like Perelman. For the rest its more beneficial to collaborate so more social interactions for mathematicians today.
I have no idea what you're talking about because I mentionned mathematicians of the past and today.
Perelman is not choosing to be alone. I believe he's anti-social, so that's not a choice at that point. It's a disorder.