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[Computational Complexity] Turning down a Fields Medal is eccentric, turning ...

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  • GASARCH
    NEWS on Poincare Conjecture: - Recall that Perelman was given the Fields Medal in 2006 for proving the Poincare Conjecture. He declined the award. - Recent
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 26, 2010
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      NEWS on Poincare Conjecture:
      1. Recall that Perelman was given the Fields Medal in 2006 for proving the Poincare Conjecture. He declined the award.
      2. Recent news: Quoting the Wikipedia article on Perelman: Perelman was officially awarded the Millennium prize on March 18, 2010. Note that they are giving it JUST to him. There was some discussion earlier if there would be split credit of some kind.
      3. He turned it down! That is, he turned down $1,000,000. See here
      4. Perelman's reasons for turning down the Millennium prize are likely similar to why he turned down the Fields Medal. To quote him on the Fields Medal: I'm not interested in money or fame. 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 everyone looking at me.
      Some random views I've heard about this: NONE are mine.
      1. Turing down the Fields Medal ($15,000) is eccentric. Turing down the Millennium prize ($1,000,000) is insane.
      2. I have some sympathy. I have a grant and now I have to work on the stuff it says to work on rather than the stuff I later got interested in. Money and prizes should not guide research. Wait, did you say its $1,000,000? My mistake, this guy is not playing with a complete axioms set.
      3. By turning it down the Fields Medal, and now the Millennium prize, he gets more people to look at him like he's an animal in a zoo. I doubt he planned that.
      4. After turning down the Fields medal, if he had taken the Millennium then it would look like he had compromised his ideals (making him an ideal compromiser). But see the next item.
      5. His reasons for turning either prize down do not seem idealistic.
      6. It was rumored that Andrew Wiles locked himself in his attic or basement for 7 years to work on FLT. This story is either false or an exaggeration. It made the rounds because it enforces the stereotype of a mathematician. By contrast, Perelman's story IS true but is SO bizarre that I do not think it enforces any stereotype.
      7. Is Perelman still doing math? If he solves Riemann then he'll save the Clay Inst. another $1,000,000.
      8. What happens to the money? Do the other prizes all get increased by 1,000,000/6 ? Do they find another problem instead?
      9. Some in Russia are saying he should have given it to charity. On the other hand, the Clay Inst IS a charity, so in a sense he did give it to a charity. Instead of helping Russian Orphans he is helping Mathematicians.


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      Posted By GASARCH to Computational Complexity at 3/26/2010 10:50:00 AM
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