Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

2006 Fields Medalists Announced

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the i-like-math dept.

132

otisaardvark writes "The 2006 Fields medals, awarded every four years and described as the Nobel Prize for Mathematics, have been awarded at the International Congress of Mathematicians. The winners are Grigory Perelman (famous for the ideas underlying the proof of the Poincare and Thurston geometrization conjectures) — who declined the prize, Terence Tao (a child prodigy famous for proving there are arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions of primes, but who works mainly in nonlinear partial differential equations and harmonic analysis), Wendelin Werner (a probabilist working on links with 2D conformal field theories), and Andrei Okounkov (who works on the interface between algebraic geometry and physics)." Yours Truly wrote to mention that Grigory Perelman actually refused his Fields Medalist, on the grounds that he 'doesn't want to be seen as a figurehead'.

cancel ×

132 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I-Like-WHAT? (3, Funny)

wiggles (30088) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957461)

Am I the only one who read Zonk's tagline and saw "I like meth"?

Re:I-Like-WHAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957505)

Yes.

Re:I-Like-WHAT? (4, Funny)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957527)

Am I the only one who read Zonk's tagline and saw "I like meth"?
You're the only on who read Zonk's tagline.

Wrong Link (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957468)

Fixed link for Terence Tao [icm2006.org]

He refused the Fields Medal? (5, Funny)

theskipper (461997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957473)

Something doesn't add up here.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957489)

And he refused to 1 million dollar cash award.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (2, Informative)

Saanvik (155780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957578)

From the last link,

Ball said he asked Perelman if he would accept that money. Perelman said that if he won, he would talk to the Clay institute.
Not a flat refusal, but ...

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (3, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957591)

Um, no, it hasn't been offered yet. From TFA:
Observers suspect he will refuse a $1m (£529,000) prize offered by the Clay Mathematics Institute in Massachusetts, US, if his proof of the Poincare Conjecture stands up to scrutiny.

A spokesperson for the Clay Mathematics Institute said it would put off making a decision on any award for two years. The $1m prize money could be be split between Perelman and US mathematician Richard Hamilton who devised the "Ricci flow" equation that forms the basis for the Russian's solution.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

ghost-j (882899) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958490)

google "declined the prize", millions seem to do it.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15958952)

That's a different award. It is contained in a section of the article detailing the awards he has declined. Stop skimming and start perusing before you draw conclusions.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

smaerd (954708) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958804)

The prize doesn't come with $1million. It comes with CAN$ 15,000. Which is about US$ 13,500.
This is according the the BBC linked article about the refusal and the wikipedia entry for the Fields Medal.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (2, Interesting)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957515)

Seems to have done the same in the past (ie: RTFA), and I remember that when he "published" his proof of the Poincare conjecture he did so with minimal fanfare (ie: dumped it on his website and ignored questions about it). It's odd only because most people want to be famous, make lots of money, be respected, be well known and so on even if they claim the contrary. I guess for this guy match is all that matters and everything else would just be a distraction.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (3, Informative)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957754)

I guess for this guy match (sic) is all that matters and everything else would just be a distraction.

Umm, no -- Maths is apparently a painful subject for him. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] (emphasis mine):

"On August 22, 2006, Perelman was awarded a Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid. The Fields Medal is the highest award in mathematics; two to four medals are awarded every four years. Perelman received the award "for his contributions to geometry and his revolutionary insights into the analytical and geometric structure of the Ricci flow"[3].

However, Perelman did not turn up at the ceremony[4], and declined to accept the medal.[5] He has consistently been described by those who know him as shy and unworldly. In the 1990s, he turned down a prestigious prize from the European Mathematical Society. According to Overbye and other sources, Perelman suffered a bitter split with the Steklov Institute (which failed to re-elect him as member[6]) in the spring of 2003, and according to the testimony of his friends currently finds mathematics a painful topic to talk about, even going so far as to say that they no longer interest him[7]. He is currently jobless and living with his mother in St Petersburg, subsisting on her £30-a-month pension.[8] This reminds some observers of previous examples of "disappearances" of extremely talented mathematicians from the mathematical scene, including Alexander Grothendieck.

Perelman is also due to receive a share of a Millennium Prize, should his proof become generally accepted. However, he has not pursued formal publication of his proof in a peer-reviewed mathematics journal, which the rules for this prize require - instead, he published the proof that he had been working on for 10 years on the internet.[9] The Clay Mathematics Institute has explicitly stated that the governing board which awards the prizes may change the formal requirements, in which case Perelman would presumably become eligible to receive a share of the prize. Perelman, however, appears to be uninterested in the money."

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

colmore (56499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958056)

It's unfortunate that many truly brilliant people suffer from mental illness. I hope that one way or another that guy is able to find happiness.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (3, Insightful)

mickwd (196449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958210)

"I hope that one way or another that guy is able to find happiness."

Perhaps he has.

Perhaps it doesn't involve large amounts of money and the winning of prizes.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959373)

Did you read the GP?

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959495)

Duh.. Jesus [bbc.co.uk] doesn't need your silly money or prizes.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958826)

only on slashdot would a refusal of a monetary prize be considered proof of a mental illness.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (4, Insightful)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959015)

"Only in America" you mean. Slashdot is one of the few places where it might be considered sane.

"only on Slashdot would refusal of the money that comes with a Fields or Millenium award be considered insane," would be a more accurate statement, since Slashdotters are probably some of the few who even know what either is.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

colmore (56499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959526)

Generally when happy people are offered awards for achievement in their field of endevour, they accept them.

He might be merely atypical, but when he says that talking about mathematics is painful, and he rejects honest praise (this isn't really a Bob Dylan screw-you-i'm-not-the-voice-of-any-generation type thing), that does sort of indicate that he might be a bit troubled.

I myself have some mental health issues, and taking praise and feeling pride in accomplishments are issues that I have, though not to this degree.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959471)

Or maybe fortunate that people with mental illness can still be brilliant [66.102.7.104] .

Dumbass. (1)

StarKruzr (74642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957963)

Mathematics is abstract truth. Who gives a shit what the mathematical community thinks? He made the discovery and is under no obligations to interact with them should he accept the prize.

Re:Dumbass. (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958060)

Huh? When did I say anything to the contrary, seems like you're the dumbass here.

Re:Dumbass. (1)

StarKruzr (74642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959734)

What?

Oh. No, not you, I was referring to the guy who rejected the prize in the first place. :p

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958647)

It's odd only because most people want to be famous, make lots of money, be respected, be well known and so on

What's more odd, to me, is that you think that. Maybe I'm unusual, but about the only thing I actually care about is "[being] respected". The rest I could take or (more likely) leave.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959192)

With all the work-a-holics and lottery players in the US money seems to be very important. It's also the most logical of all those things to desire. Even if, like me, you have little current need for money itself (ie: don't need to buy/want to buy expensive things, etc.) it still provides a security blanket. If shit hits the fan the more money you have the better your chances of getting through things.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957517)

He was hoping to win the vodka instead of cash.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (0)

fmobus (831767) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957593)


You should really transliterate as "vadka", which is more close to the actual sound of the famous drink.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957648)

You should really transliterate as "vadka", which is more close to the actual sound of the famous drink.

All I hear is a sort of vague sort of buzzing in my ears.

KFG

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957664)

You should really transliterate as "vadka", which is more close to the actual sound of the famous drink.

Or, you could write it the way it's written on the bottle. That way, even drunks will know what you mean.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957687)

How do I make the text look blurry and moving on Slashdot?

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

dancingyel (981935) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958357)

No, if you actually speak Russian, the sound is somewhere between the two, and "vodka" is a more accurate presentation of the word.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957637)

No, if you read the summary again, you'll see that he refused his Fields Medalist, which is an entirely different thing.

Re:He refused the Fields Medal? (3, Funny)

theskipper (461997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957770)

Note to self:
Don't try for a +5 funny FP with /. math geeks around.

(slinks away sheepishly...)

Of course he declined the medal (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957492)

I think Perelman declined the medal because his solution was so obvious. I mean, who among us hasn't proven those theorems while eating a donut and idly scribbling on our napkins?

As for declining the million bucks though, well, maybe "genius" is too strong a word for this guy. I think a much wiser course of action for him to take would be to accept that prize and donate the money to a worthy charity such as, for example, me.

Re:Of course he declined the medal (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957608)

Indeed. Once, when I was trying to setup a router for my shared flat I got in a little over my head (what with the DHCP and all, I'm not that smart) and accidentally proved the Poincare conjecture.

Re:Of course he declined the medal (1)

joshdick (619079) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957674)

Actually, the prize money likely will go to a charity, such as the Math Olympiad.

Re:Of course he declined the medal (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957985)

Unless there is a Math Special Olympiad, I wouldn't be donating my money to it...

As is obvious to even the most casual observer... (5, Funny)

swillden (191260) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957880)

... having demonstrated that winning the Fields medal is possible, Perelman thereafter felt no need to bother actually receiving it, as the effort would have been redundant and pointless. Instead, he immediately set about theorizing a higher-order space in which Fields medals exist in multiple dimensions. He is even now working on an analysis of the connectedness of prize sets in the topology of the n-medal space.

Won't someone think of the mother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15959087)

Give the money to his mom - the dude hangs out at her basement all the time and she hasn't even kicked him out. My mom don't even let me visit her.

Send Billy Clinton to hand over the check to the long-suffering mom: "Mam, I feel you pain..."

Did Frink get his? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957493)

When did Professor Frink get his medal? You know, for yelling out loud in a convention that Pi is exactly 3. Such profound minds should be properly appreciated and congratulated.

There's something to be said... (5, Funny)

Lord Aurora (969557) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957495)

...about a guy who refuses the Fields Medal because he "doesn't want to be seen as a figurehead."

It'd look like a publicity stunt if it were anyone other than our very own resident hermit Perelman...he's one of the very few truly quiet geniuses in the world.

TFA also says he's not too interested in the $1 million for the Poincare business...now that is insane. Sure, fame is a bit overrated, but money? At least he could buy himself a really, really nice hermit shack in the mountains.

Re:There's something to be said... (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957561)

about a guy who refuses the Fields Medal because he "doesn't want to be seen as a figurehead."

Maybe he just didn't feel like meeting Kim Fields to accept the prize. The Facts of Life wasn't a very good show, anyway.

Re:There's something to be said... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957701)

Sure, fame is a bit overrated, but money? At least he could buy himself a really, really nice hermit shack in the mountains.

I was bemoaning just the other day how much money it takes to have a nice little hermit shack in the mountains these days. Seriously.

The legal hassles and concomitant legal fees (not to mention the having to deal with lawyers) pretty much take all the point out of it.

Seriously.

KFG

Off topic re: hermit shacks (1)

aethera (248722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959151)

I'm in the same boat. Say I quit my job, sell off all the junk and buy a few acres near Tupper Lake. Then I build my small, energy efficient off grid hermit shack and live off the land. But how the heck do I pay my property taxes for the next 30-40 years. Surely there is a way to live completely independently of anyone and everything. Well, except for my wife, but she's the one putting these crazy ideas in my head anyways. 'Course that makes it more love shack than hermit shack.....

Re:Off topic re: hermit shacks (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959443)

Surely there is a way to live completely independently of anyone and everything.

Sit on the same log in the Adirondack forest for more than three days and you'll be getting a visit from the forest cops if you haven't gotten written permission first. Just to hang out in the woods for awhile you've got to go outlaw and/or keep moving, although the Tupper Lake area is certainly a nice place to do it. I used to play the Long Lake Bluegrass Festival and always looked forward to getting into that neck of the woods.

Haven't been able to get too far off the 9N/9 corridor lately, but Schroon Lake is nice too and Mt. Pharoh is a lovely little one day climb. You won't be alone, but it's nowhere near as crowded as Marcy is these days.

Well, except for my wife, but she's the one putting these crazy ideas in my head anyways.

Sounds like ya got yerself a keeper to me, but they've been working hard the past 20 years to make those ideas effectively illegal. They couldn't outright ban them, so they've just made it so compliance with the law makes them impossible without a shitload of money and a foaming at the mouth lawyer.

KFG

Re:There's something to be said... (2, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959514)

That's because Jesus [bbc.co.uk] isn't interested in fame or fortune.

Wait.. scratch that first part.

(I know, I know.. I shamelessly re-used my own joke in the very same discussion, but funny mods generate no karma anyway).

They should make out the medal to... (1, Funny)

csoto (220540) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957497)

Alan Smithee. That guy makes good films!

Re:They should make out the medal to... (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957649)

I think you're thinking of Kevin Smith... Except for Jersey Girl... *shivers*

I'm surprised anyone here knows of Alan Smithee (2, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958512)

It's a pseudonym used by directors who want to be disassociated with a film for which they no longer want credit. The only reason I know this is that my wife is a film geek. Here's the wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] for more info. Fascinating, really. To use the name, you basically have to prove to the DGA that the film has been taken over by someone else and you no longer have creative control.

dibs. (1)

3-State Bit (225583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957520)

I hereby call dibs on Grigory Perelman's medal.

Go ahead, check the comment history. I am the first, therefore (omiting some trivial intermediate steps)... the medal is mine.

See you at the top, non-figureheads!

Re:dibs. (2, Funny)

kalirion (728907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957614)

Fine. I call dibs on the $1 million prize.

Re:dibs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957622)

indeed: [google.com]
Your search - "Grigory Perelman" dibs - did not match any documents.

Suggestions:
  • Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
  • Try different keywords.
  • Try more general keywords.
  • Try fewer keywords.

Sort of ironic. (2, Informative)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957521)

By refusing the award, Grigory Perelman is actually turning himself into an even more notable figure than if he'd just accept it quietly. This way he becomes a quirky genius mathematician that fits right into a common stereotype. Everyone loves to call attention to those who fit their stereotypes.

Re:Sort of ironic. (1)

Gadgetfreak (97865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957573)

Not just himself, but the medal in general. It's making mainstream news headlines when I'm rather certain that if he'd just accepted it like the others, it wouldn't even be noticed by the average person reading the news of the day.

But at this pace, it'll be a thousand years before mathmatical awards are televised like the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the other entertainment awards. Although they did do it on Futurama...

Re:Sort of ironic. (3, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958650)

But at this pace, it'll be a thousand years before mathematical awards are televised like the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the other entertainment awards.

There is a very simple reason for this - a very large number of people in the world have seen many of the movies nominated for an Oscar, several of the TV shows nominated for Emmys, and have often heard much of the music nominated for Grammys. That is, there is a large viewing public with a vested interest in the results all hoping that "their" pick will win. On the other hand the number of people who have read work by those nominated for Field's medals is rather smaller. Consider, for example, the Nobel prizes where the most widely publicised (except for occasional science winners who made sufficiently significant breakthroughs that they were published widely in the popular press prior to winning) are the literature and peace prizes; that is, those prizes with whom the broadest range of the public can expect to be familiar with potential nominees.

I agree that it would be nice if more people took an interest in, say, the Nobel prizes in the sciences and Fields medals, but that would involve a much broader range of people taking an interest in the cutting edge of science and mathematics: a worthy goal, but a somewhat unlikely one. The cutting edge tends to be cutting because it takes a lot of work to get there. Awards ceremonies for cutting edge cinema tend to be as generally ignored as awards for cutting edge math (the only reason Cannes, for example, has gained any significant coverage is the degree to which it has mainstreamed itself). Perhaps it would be more productive to consider awards in math and science for people who do an excellent job of popularising or explaining existing material - you know, the sort of awards that Feynman would have regularly swept in physics, and would go to people like Ian Stewart in mathematics. Certainly there is an available niche for it, and more publicity for people who help to bring science and mathematics more into mainstream discourse could hardly be a bad thing.

Re:Sort of ironic. (1)

otisaardvark (587437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959386)


Perhaps it would be more productive to consider awards in math and science for people who do an excellent job of popularising or explaining existing material


Such prizes already exist (though are not well known outside the mathematical/scientific community). Most famous is probably the Kalinga prize [unesco.org] . Other examples include the Michael Faraday medal [royalsoc.ac.uk] , the Peano prize, and at a undergraduate level the AMS Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition [ams.org] . There are almost certainly many others I don't know.

Re:Sort of ironic. (3, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957743)

By refusing the award, Grigory Perelman is actually turning himself into an even more notable figure than if he'd just accept it quietly.

It is said that Diogenes once walked into Plato's home and starting stamping around on his carpets, yelling:

"I trample on the pride of Plato."

Plato is said to have looked at him and responded:

"Yes, with a pride of your own."

KFG

Re:Sort of ironic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957778)

dontcha think?

like raaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiin on your wedding day

Re:Sort of ironic. (1)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957804)

I'll have you know that my wedding day was quite beautiful with no rain in sight - which is good because it was outdoors...

Re:Sort of ironic. (1)

b4stard (893180) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958309)

To quote a fellow math geek discussing how to make math popular and how to get rid of the quirky genius mathematician stereotype:
"Why do you have to be so f*cking crazy Perelman?!"

Re:Sort of ironic. (1)

Anthony (4077) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958960)

Wait, I can feel a movie coming on. A Distant Mind .A young russian boy, devoted to his mother, idles his time by the glow of the hearth pursuing mathematical interests. Later, He falls in love with a woman who rejects him. He withdraws and spends the rest of his life solving Poincarres conjecture. Starring Ben Stiller as the mathematical genius, Glenn Close as his devoted mother and Naomi Watts as the unattainable object of his desires.

Re:Sort of ironic. (1)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959308)

Ben Stiller? Lean over here so I can slap you. Everyone knows the only man for that part is Pauly Shore.

The Russian Idol (-1, Troll)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957585)

Dear Grigory Perelman,

Thank you for helping us all resist the temptation to idolize you and attempt to imitate you. I can just imagine the stories of kids pulling a brain muscle trying to prove some obscure hypothesis at home.

Seriously, why not just accept the prize? Refusing it doesn't demonstrate your humility; in fact I suspect it shows you think too much of yourself. Just smile, say thanks, put the medal on your shelf, and move on with life.

Re:The Russian Idol (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957628)

how about you shut up, and let the man do what he wants to do.

Re:The Russian Idol (1)

nova_ostrich (774466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957678)

I don't think he's trying to show humility. To me, it seems like he's just so interested in math that he wants to move on to the next challenge. Awards are just a distraction.

Maybe he just doesn't want the prize? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957712)

You don't know very many mathematically-inclined people, do you? One trait that many of the true geniuses share is that they care little for material possessions. That includes money, and medals or awards. What matters to them is their work.

Such an idea may conflict horribly with your American money-is-everything attitude. But, yes, there are people out there who do care more about things other than money and fame.

Re:Maybe he just doesn't want the prize? (4, Interesting)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958062)

I don't know why you concluded I have an American money-is-everything attitude. My point was that by refusing this award, he makes a bigger deal out of himself and out of the whole situation. If he doesn't care about the award, he should just accept it quietly. He could send his regrets that he is unable to attend the ceremony if he doesn't want to go.

I received a couple of minor academic awards as a student, and I really didn't care about them. But I didn't make a stink about it and refuse them. It just seems like common sense and common decency to accept the attempted kindness.

Re:Maybe he just doesn't want the prize? (2, Interesting)

nla0 (974050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959016)

Yes, he probably made a political mistake by refusing the award.
Common sense & decency people will not appreciate that.

He should have hired a better PR consultant. Someone like you.

Another great Jewish contribution to Maths! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957610)

Grigory Perelman is Jewish, and thus another feather in the cap of a long line of Jewish scholars contributing to the world's knowledge. Jon Von and his Theory of Games, the list goes on.

Re:Another great Jewish contribution to Maths! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957713)

Elaine: Would you like something to read?
Lady: Do you have anything light?
Elaine: How about this leaflet, "Famous Jewish Sports Legends?"

Re:Another great Jewish contribution to Maths! (0, Troll)

middlemen (765373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958197)

Mel Gibson will not be happy with your comments.

International Congress of Mathematicians (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957612)

International Congress of Mathematicians... I bet that conference is a BABE-fest!!!

Re:International Congress of Mathematicians (2, Interesting)

colmore (56499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958067)

Mathematics tends to be a bit better gender-integrated than, for instance, physics or computer scientists.

I had a pretty hot abstract algebra prof. once.

one of THE hottest... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15958199)

...babes I ever dated was a math Phd and worked at JPL when she wasn't being a Uni professor. Curvy redhead. *Quite* the imagination and energy level. Quite.

Re:International Congress of Mathematicians (3, Informative)

gatzke (2977) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959127)

I have been to SIAM meetings, and female representation is not as bad as some other specialties. I work in chemical process control, and the American Control Conference is probably the conference with the most XY I have ever seen, percentage wise. Math+computers+robotics/automation for some reason does not attract too many women, but there are a few.

Re:International Congress of Mathematicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15959353)

only second to defcon

I'd refuse the Fields medal, too... (3, Funny)

chooki (172611) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957646)

... if it meant wearing scarves with your tweed jacket every frickin' day of the year, like that insufferable professor in "Good Will Hunting." He won the Fields, too.

mod Down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957673)

Tao a child prodigy? (2, Funny)

mclaincausey (777353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957681)

I know they say our generation is growing up much slower than previous generations, but calling a 31 year-old a child might be a bit excessive:P

Re:Tao a child prodigy? (3, Informative)

alienfluid (677872) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957910)

He was a child prodidy growing up, see my other post for a link to his Wikipedia page.

Why I got rejected when I submit the same story? (1)

dslmodem (733085) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957715)

Anyway, it is nice to see another BIG problem solved. Also, it maybe good to start to ask the best in the field to submit some high quality problems while solve others. :-)

Re:Why I got rejected when I submit the same story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15957965)

Someone already submitted your story [slashdot.org] ? Remember there is a queue.

Wikipedia entry for Terence (4, Informative)

alienfluid (677872) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957793)

Way to make me feel dumb. [wikipedia.org]

ICM gold before age 13, SAT math score of 760 at age 8, seriously, what the hell.

I wonder if he ever appeared for the Putname exams.

Re:Wikipedia entry for Terence (3, Funny)

Arwing (951573) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957947)

I went to Terrence's website on Standford and looked over his classes and homework assignments and I didn't understand ANYTHING. I guess that's what you get for taking a leet professor in a leet college.


One interesting note tho, he did say you will pass his class if you just show up, but your letter grade will depend on your homework, I wondering if that's how it works in a ultra high level class like that

Re:Wikipedia entry for Terence (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15958036)


I went to Terrence's website on Standford and looked over his classes and homework assignments and I didn't understand ANYTHING. I guess that's what you get for taking a leet professor in a leet college.

Given that Terence's name is not Terrence, that Stanford is not spelled Standford, and that he is a professor at UCLA, not Stanford, is it surprising that you didn't undertand ANYTHING?

Re:Wikipedia entry for Terence (1)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959809)

It's ok, I don't undertand anything either.

Re:Wikipedia entry for Terence (5, Interesting)

colmore (56499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958179)

typos aside,

If you don't have any background in formal mathematics, I doubt you'd understand the homework assignments for upper-level mathematics coursework at a ho-hum state school. Mathematics is as much learning a language as it is learning a science, so you're no more dumb for not understanding his assignments than you are for not understanding an assignment in a class on Sanskrit.

That said, Undergraduate mathematics (algebra, analysis, some degree of differential equations, topology, a handful of other topics of interest) isn't that different from school to school. Even at "leet" (ugh) schools, mathematics is a common major for many students who do not intend to become mathematicians. Law schools like it, a lot of science types take it as a second major, and for indecisive students it's a bit more job friendly than History (though probably less useful, you're more likely to have to write at a job than prove Stoke's theorem). So while the coursework may be abstract, there's sort of a ceiling on the difficulty of major requirements, even at top schools, there's a limit to how much headache students with non-academic ambitions are going to want to endure. His grad students, on the other hand, are, I'm sure, worked to the bone.

Re:Wikipedia entry for Terence (1)

shadowmatter (734276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959929)

Warning: Overly fawning post follows.

I had Terence Tao as a math teacher for my upper-division linear algebra class, Math 115A. It was, in retrospect, the best class I ever took. As a frosh CS major, I did poorly in my first two lower-division math classes at UCLA, but the two after that my sophomore year, I did well. I convinced myself that I was a naive freshman when I did poorly, and that I was more studious now. I then decided that I would add a math minor to my CS major, which required taking five additional upper division math classes. The first one I took, my first quarter my sophomore year, was Terence Tao's.

I kid you not, when he walked in, I thought the professor had died and this was a graduate student taking over. Not so. Now typically, when your teacher is a prodigy of the highest degree as Dr. Tao is, you're in for a rough ride. This is typically because they expect too much of you, or they can't explain things because they just intuitively understand it, and have never received any explanation themselves. Not so with Professor Tao -- he didn't think the book was thorough or clear enough, so he typed up all his notes, which are still on my computer. (Yes, Virginia, they are better than the book, although not as nicely typeset.) If anyone had a question in class, not only could he give an intuitive answer, but then back up the reasoning via a proof. Which he could always deliver off the cuff without the smallest hint of any effort required.

A memorable lecture was when he reduced some matrix operation to the multiplication of two matrices, and in reducing that he botched a really simple multiplication, like 7 times 8. When someone corrected him (which is rare), he quipped, "Oh, my bad. You'll have to excuse me, I don't deal with numbers in math much anymore."

I did not go to office hours often, but I owe much to Prof. Tao for putting me on firm footing for my Math minor -- I went on to achieve a 4.0 GPA in all my upper division math courses. Congratulations to you Professor Tao, if you're reading this. (And I know he reads Slashdot -- I walked by his office one day when he was holding office hours, and it was there on the monitor!)

- shadowmatter

Ze Frank says it best (2, Interesting)

Se7enLC (714730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957895)

Ze Frank [zefrank.com] says it best.

"Known as the Nobel Prize of Mathematics, the prestigious Fields Medal was awarded to four people under the age of forty that you wouldn't want to get trapped on an elevator with...."

He then goes on to disprove some of Grigory Perelman's more famous conjectures using a donut.

Perelman is not the first .... (4, Interesting)

dildo (250211) | more than 8 years ago | (#15957907)

... to refuse a major math prize. Alexander Grothendieck [wikipedia.org] also won the Fields medal but turned down the Crafoord price, a similar but less prestigious award for mathematical achievement.

John Paul Sartre also turned down a Nobel Prize because he did not want himself associated with institutions or prizes.

I wonder if in the future an individual will turn down one of these major prizes on the grounds that the bulk of his/her knowledge was discovered, developed, and perpetuated by the work of people in society as a whole.

I can see this argument being made in Mathematics, where any serious and insightful contribution is necessarily based on dozens, if not hundreds, of years of complex and insightful mathematical discoveries. During my mathematical education I truly felt like I was a history class and only the insane math olympiad types ever managed to catch up with the present. (This is true except for fluid dynamics and combinatorics -- those fields are still wide open because fluid dynamics is extraordinarily hard and combinatorics is fairly new as a serious mathematical discipline.)

I personally still think that some people deserve special recognition for advancing the whole field as a whole -- I believe the hypothetical argument above is not very compelling.

Perelman, Wiles, and most other serious mathematicians like to be left alone. I'm not sure that Perelman will like it if NPR is calling him for comment about the latest mathematical discovery. I think his argument against becoming a figurehead is fairly sound; it is good that the Clay institute and the Fields people are not taking his refusals as a sign of disrespect.

Moreover, the Clay Institute intends to use the $1m dollars to promote Mathematics education in Russia. I think all parties are winners here.

Re:Perelman is not the first .... (5, Interesting)

mathcam (937122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958184)

> Perelman, Wiles, and most other serious mathematicians like to be left alone.

This is hardly the case. Most mathematicians (yes, even "serious" ones) realize that mathematics is not exclusively writing down a series of logical statements which prove difficult theorems. The lifeforce of mathematics, and thus the mathematician, is doing so and then *communicating* those results to their fellow mathematicians, and indeed to the rest of the world. I suspect that most (but obviously not all) mathematicians would be giddy with delight at so many people taking interest in their field of expertise (their work in particular), and the opportunity to talk about it at length. Further, for reasons not quite so abstract, mathematicians and mathematics departments rely on funding, so it behooves mathematicians to self-aggrandize -- let people know how big of a deal this is, why it was so important, and why people should keep paying them to keep doing it.

> Moreover, the Clay Institute intends to use the $1m dollars to promote Mathematics education in Russia. I think all parties are winners here.

I'm not sure where this came from, but this is almost certainly not the case. The Clay Institute has yet to officially decide how the prize will be distributed among mathematician(s) (if at all), let alone a contingency plan for what to do if one of the recipients declines the award.

Re:Perelman is not the first .... (1)

dildo (250211) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958377)

>> Perelman, Wiles, and most other serious mathematicians like to be left alone.

>This is hardly the case. Most mathematicians (yes, even "serious" >ones) realize that mathematics is not exclusively writing down a >series of logical statements which prove difficult theorems.

You're certainly correct about this. But I'm talking about non-mathematicians. The mathematicians I've met at MIT do talk frequently and excitedly to other mathematicians and talented students, but they don't have a lot of time for anything else.

I was thinking this: when was the last time you saw a famous mathematician on Nightline or the Today show? They don't go in for that crap.

>> Moreover, the Clay Institute intends to use the $1m dollars to >>promote Mathematics education in Russia. I think all parties are >>winners here.

>I'm not sure where this came from, but this is almost certainly not >the case. The Clay Institute has yet to officially decide how the >prize will be distributed among mathematician(s) (if at all), let >alone a contingency plan for what to do if one of the recipients >declines the award.

You know, I read it on the internet somewhere. That's a flawless standard of evidence. Do you deny what I heard what some other guy heard from some dude might have read on wikipedia?

Re:Perelman is not the first ....fascinating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15959130)

Every thing about Grigori perelman is so fascinating. He is called the most cleverest living on earth today. Yet, he has zero bank balance and lives his mother. Not interested in money or fame. Collects mushrooms for hobby. Is he human ?. I sincerely wish he has lots of sex with lots of beautiful, young Russian women and have lots of children to pass on his good genes. This world needs lot of Grigori perelmans ......

Re:Perelman is not the first .... (1)

Stalyn (662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959759)

However Math stands apart from other fields where one can be right in something and never need others to confirm your accomplishment. The only reason in Mathematics to introduce your findings is for the benefit for others (Perelman's apparent motivation) and to seek praise.

Also there should be two things that should be obvious from Perelman's behavior. One he is not very good at explaining his results. He might suffer from a mild form of dyslexia where it is extraordinarily difficult to explain one's ideas. Also he might suffer from social anxiety and therefore has a hard time dealing with people. From this it's not hard to conclude he excels at math because math is ultimately a solitary endeavor. Not only that, but a life as a Mathematician can be removed from abundant social interaction. Yet now because of his famous results he has introduced two things to his mathematical life which he tried to avoid, explaining things to people and social interaction. You can now see why he may have given up on math all together.

the million bucks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15958460)

...one of the russian geeks should go over to this dudes house and tell his MOM about the million bucks. He isn't working and she gets 30 clams a month pension?? and that's it? In russia? What's just the heat bill there? Maybe he doesn't want the money but I bet his Mom does! Or at least split it with the institute there.

Well,snark out a grand,too,hire a hooker and just give her the address and send her over, this guy sounds like he might need to loosen up a bit.

by refusing the price he made it more famous (2, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958536)

Seriously, how often do you meet an average person who's even heard of a Field's medal (say vs the people who've heard of the Nobel)? But now that this story is all over the place, the words Field's medal will enter common vernacular again. BTW, if you read carefully, it sounds like Andrei Okounkov's work is the most interesting of all the nominees. He tied together "Probability"
(<intended pun>probably</intended pun> meaning measure theory), representation theory and algebraic geometry. This is about as cool as cool can get in math.

Did they find him yet? (2, Interesting)

Xybot (707278) | more than 8 years ago | (#15958749)

Last I Heard he'd gone bush somewhere in Russia. Let's face it this guy is just not interested in Awards/Prizes, he just wants to play with his math and be left alone.

Fair enough I say.

Terrence Tao!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15958944)

Wow I knew this guy was smart when I had him for undergrad analysis at UCLA... but a fields medal!!!1 wooohoo i got an A from someone who won a fields medal

Story has it all wrong (1)

OldManAndTheC++ (723450) | more than 8 years ago | (#15959843)

Perelman was more than happy to accept the Fields Medal, he only objected to the configuration of the medal itself. "A disk shaped medal is not to my liking..." Perelman was heard to say, "...I prefer a spherical one. I've explained to the committee that the two are topologically equivalent, but they refuse to listen to reason. It's barbaric! Tell them to call me when they can do something in three dimensions" he said in disgust.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>