Russian mathematician turns down Fields Medal

Grigory Perelman, the reclusive Russian mathematician who may have proved the elusive Poincaré Conjecture, was awarded with a 2006 Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians--and he turned it down, according to Nature.

Three other mathematicians--Princeton University's Andre Okounkov, UCLA's Terence Tao, and Wendelin Werner from France's University of Paris-Sud--were honored with this year's Fields Medal, considered by many to be mathematics' equivalent of the Nobel Prize. All three of them were present at the ceremony in Madrid to accept their awards.

According to the International Mathematical Union, a Fields Medal has never been turned down before.

Perelman, who reportedly lives with his mother in St. Petersburg, will be eligible for a $1 million Millennium Prize from the Clay Mathematics Institute if he is indeed determined to have proved the Poincaré Conjecture, a seemingly simple problem dealing with three-dimensional spheres. No word as to whether he'll accept that one.

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Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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