Grigory Perelman

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8585407.stm

Russian maths genius Grigory Perelman, who declined a prestigious international award four years ago, is under new pressure to accept a prize.
From Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigori_Perelman
As of the spring of 2003, Perelman no longer worked at the Steklov Institute.[5] His friends are said to have stated that he currently finds mathematics a painful topic to discuss; some even say that he has abandoned mathematics entirely.[21] According to a 2006 interview, Perelman is currently jobless, living with his mother in Saint Petersburg.[5]

Although Perelman is quoted in a The New Yorker article that he is disappointed with the ethical standards of the field of mathematics, the article implies that Perelman refers particularly to Yau's efforts to downplay Perelman's role in the proof and play up the work of Cao and Zhu. Perelman has said that "I can't say I'm outraged. Other people do worse. Of course, there are many mathematicians who are more or less honest. But almost all of them are conformists. They are more or less honest, but they tolerate those who are not honest."[6] He has also said that "It is not people who break ethical standards who are regarded as aliens. It is people like me who are isolated."[6]

This, combined with the possibility of being awarded a Fields medal, led him to quit professional mathematics. He has said that "As long as I was not conspicuous, I had a choice. Either to make some ugly thing or, if I didn't do this kind of thing, to be treated as a pet. Now, when I become a very conspicuous person, I cannot stay a pet and say nothing. That is why I had to quit." (The New Yorker authors explained Perelman's reference to "some ugly thing" as "a fuss" on Perelman's part about the ethical breaches he perceived.)[22]
There is also a book about him:
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2009/11/grigori-perelman-the-genius-in-hiding.php

Is he humble or simply eccentric?
 

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  • #2
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Yes he is.
 
  • #3
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Eccentric, he doesn't like the show of prizes and recognition and the whole popstar parade of maths, and I agree with him.

I think calling theorems after the first person that, in mass knowledge, proved them is stupid. 1: you can't be sure another proof didn't dive into obscurity, 2: it isn't even done consistently. I think 'the law of aequivalence of force and the derivative of moment with respect to time' in sort F=dP(t) is a lot better than 'Newton's first law of motion'.

Prizes are also a big hoax, when did a result in pure maths ever win a fields? (no doubt some one can bring a thing up though). It's a media hype.
 
  • #4
apeiron
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  • #5
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In addition to ethics concerns, I hear in Russia it's better to keep a low profile, lest you attract unwanted attention from the mafia or other gangs.
 
  • #6
George Jones
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So what is it about mathematicians?...

Alexander Grothendieck was the most visionary and radical mathematician in the second half of the 20th century - at least before he left his home and disappeared one fine day in 1991.

http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/category/2006/08/letter_from_grothendieck.html
This sentence, at least for me, is a little misleading. According to Wikipedia,
In 1991, Grothendieck moved to an address he did not provide to his previous contacts in the mathematical community. He is now said to live in southern France or Andorra and to be reclusive.

In January 2010, Grothendieck wrote a letter to Luc Illusie. In this "Declaration d’intention de non-publication", he states that essentially all materials that have been published in his absence have been done without his permission. He asks that none of his work should be reproduced in whole or in part, and even further that libraries containing such copies of his work remove them.[
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Grothendieck
 
  • #7
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In addition to ethics concerns, I hear in Russia it's better to keep a low profile, lest you attract unwanted attention from the mafia or other gangs.
This is a bit paranoid :P Really.
 
  • #8
Office_Shredder
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I think 'the law of aequivalence of force and the derivative of moment with respect to time' in sort F=dP(t) is a lot better than 'Newton's first law of motion'.
You really want to have to say "the law of equivalence of force and the derivative of motion with respect to time" rather than "Newton's first law" every time you reference it? You're definitely in the minority there.

I know someone who claims some of his friends spent a summer finding Grothendieck's house and ended up doing it. They saw him only for the time it took for him to say 'get off my property'
 
  • #9
apeiron
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This sentence, at least for me, is a little misleading. According to Wikipedia,
Perhaps. It was written by John Baez of course.

I know someone who claims some of his friends spent a summer finding Grothendieck's house and ended up doing it. They saw him only for the time it took for him to say 'get off my property'
Yes, that incident is recounted in the link. He was actually very friendly at first then turned nasty.

One of the last members of the mathematical establishment to come into contact with him was Leila Schneps. Through a series of coincidences, she and her future husband, Pierre Lochak, learned from a market trader in the town he left in 1991 that ‘the crazy mathematician’ had turned up in another town in the Pyrenees. Schneps and Lochak in due course staked out the marketplace of the town, carrying an out-of-date photograph of Grothendieck, and waited for the greatest mathematician of the 20th century to show up in search of beansprouts.
 
  • #10
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You really want to have to say "the law of equivalence of force and the derivative of motion with respect to time" rather than "Newton's first law" every time you reference it? You're definitely in the minority there.
, no, I think FdP(t) suffices.

I know someone who claims some of his friends spent a summer finding Grothendieck's house and ended up doing it. They saw him only for the time it took for him to say 'get off my property'
I know some one who proved P=NP, and ¬(P=NP) a month earlier.
 
  • #11
mgb_phys
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You really want to have to say "the law of equivalence of force and the derivative of motion with respect to time" rather than "Newton's first law" every time you reference it? You're definitely in the minority there.
On the other hand I have had exam papers that wanted you to remember which was Boyle's law and which was Charles' law - rather than just PV=nRT
 
  • #12
he should give that dosh to charity IMO.
 
  • #13
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Is he humble or simply eccentric?
IMO he is not humble, and not eccentric in a simple way, although he is eccentric after all.

If he was humble, he would play along with the academic world and do what he is expected to do. Obviously, humble people would not give comments like this:

He had previously turned down a prestigious prize from the European Mathematical Society,[20] allegedly saying that he felt the prize committee was unqualified to assess his work, even positively.[16]
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigori_Perelman)

Mathematicians tend to have rather strange ways prioritizing things. My guess is that Perelman expects very high ethical standards from other people, perhaps in a similar manner as a mathematician can expect strict rigor in proofs, and the lack of ethics (at least from his point of view) eventually lead him to dislike the mathematical community.
 
  • #14
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The truth about Perelman-Yau conflict?

I've started to regret that I didn't keep diary about finding things out about Perelman-Yau conflict. In total it has turned out to be a confusing affair.

I remember that at some point I heard (or read) some people talking about the possibility, that Yau might have be trying to "steal" the credit.

Later when I tried to find out about this, I started to doubt the original rumors. I started leaning towards the direction that New Yorker (which was at the heart of the affair) might have simply exaggerated stuff, and had made up the story out of thin air, in typical unethical journalist fashion. It was difficult to find information about the alleged stealing attempt, Yau had been furious about the New Yorker article, and some mathematicians had confirmed that New Yorker has "quoted them out of context".

Then I read the book by Masha Gessen, and it returned me to consider the possibility of the stealing attempt. Gessen gives some details about various comments given in some seminars, and also some details about Yau's students publications, and leaves the reader under impression, that Yau did try to steal some credit, but later changed the strategy and started insisting that stealing attempt had never occurred.

Right now, I think that the picture that Gessen gives makes the sense most. The reason why I had difficulty finding out anything about the conflict, could be the same reason why Perelman started to reject the academic community.The reason was that the mathematical community prefers to maintain silence about the Perelman-Yau conflict.
 
  • #16
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Give the man some privacy.

Edit: and give me that money.
 
  • #17
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Give the man some privacy.

Edit: and give me that money.
"

Oh I see, that is yet another example of *your* idea about "garbage in, garbage out." ROTFL!
 
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  • #18
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Are both having the same meaning ?
He might have meant "I didn't think I would go to college/postgrad to learn English again, I need fair makeup. I get my butt off away from you"
"

The only thing I can extrapolate from what you have written above TheLoser is absolutely NOTHING except you think Kajahtava is a male. How do you know if the person( Kajahtava) is a he? Furthermore, Kajahtava's famous line "garbage in, garbage out" on another topic we were in discussion together has become pure rhetoric on behalf of Kajahtava. I most definately ignore such trite dialogues that have no substance and are impossible to comprehend due to a lack of proper English in a forum that requires such as far as I am concerned.

Have a good day.
 
  • #19
sylas
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Last edited by a moderator:
  • #20
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""

The only thing I can extrapolate from what you have written above TheLoser is absolutely NOTHING except you think Kajahtava is a male. How do you know if the person( Kajahtava) is a he? Furthermore, Kajahtava's famous line "garbage in, garbage out" on another topic we were in discussion together has become pure rhetoric on behalf of Kajahtava. I most definately ignore such trite dialogues that have no substance and are impossible to comprehend due to a lack of proper English in a forum that requires such as far as I am concerned.

Have a good day.
The 'garbage in / garbage out' was meant to signify that the human central nervous system still in effect is a computer that just processes its input (senses) by the laws of physics because it can do no other thing and then results into output (muscle contractions).

Therefore there should be some input possible to make a human do all things desired.

Note that I do not at this moment accept the naïve view that humans are 'self aware' or even more awkward that they have a 'choice' to make, I personally approach it this reductionistically. Human beings are cold automatons without any feelings or emotions that just operate on a sophisticated and adaptive computer we call a central nervous system.
 
  • #21
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Kajahtava, the *terminology* that you use for the 'human central nervous system' is incorrect. Do some research in the future prior to contorting what the medical profession has already defined then I will consider having a discussion with you. If you need help go to the Biology section of PhysicsForms where it can be discussed further.

Stephen Hawkings is a quadriplegic with a brilliant mind. Intelligent though a frail man totally aware and emotional to the extent of recognizing beauty and he is most definately capable of making the choice to lecture when he is available.

Also, please consider in the future not to do as you have done elsewhere on another topic with me to slice and dice a simple paragraph with an unending, full blown rhetorical response.

Have a wonderful day. I'm extremely busy but did want to explain further my concerns. And they are based on "thinking" free from emotion.
 
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