The Fields Medal is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for mathematics. Did you know that there is no Nobel Prize in mathematics? Any ideas why?

The young (you cannot be over 40 to win the Fields) Russian mathematician, Grigory Perelman, was offered the medal in 2006, along with US$15,000, for his solution of the PoincarĂ© Conjecture. He refused, claiming that "if the proof is correct then no other recognition is needed." In March of this year, he rejected the Clay prize, a mere one-million-dollars. This time he said that he had all that he wanted. What a nobel person.

Karma Thinley recently asked me what the PoincarĂ© Conjecture was about. I told him that it was about mathematics.

If you want to know more about Perelman or the PoincarĂ© Conjecture, try the following article, which reviews a biography of Perelman called "Perfect Rigor: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century."

He Conquered the Conjecture | The New York Review of Books

The writer of the review, John Allen Paulos, has written numerous books on mathematics for the non-mathematician. I will write more about Paulos later. Unless I forget.

If I were offered the Fields Medal, I would also turn it down. Not only do I have all that I want (apart from money, a house, a decent job, and the rest), but I am over 40.

"Did you know that there is no Nobel Prize in mathematics? Any ideas why?"

ReplyDeleteI give up. Why?

Nobody knows for sure. One story is that a mathematician was having an affair with Mr Nobel's wife. Come on ... a mathematician having an affair? I guess he just did not like maths.

ReplyDelete