Russian mathematician extraordinaire Grigory Perelman has solved one of the greatest problems of mathematics and thus is entitled to cash a $1M prize… But will he?

International media are abuzz with rumours that Perelman will reject the prize money, quoting his seclusive personality and his formerly rejecting of the Fields Medal, a prestigious award in mathematics.
A few of Perelman’s Russian compatriots, apparently no strangers to giving advice, have already claimed Perelman should accept the prize money and donate it to local St Petersburg or Russian charities.

The St. Petersburg Times reports:

“I have got everything I need,” was the response Grigory Perelman, the reclusive St. Petersburg mathematician who was this month been awarded the prestigious $1 million Millienium Prize by the U.S.-based Clay Mathematics Institute for solving the Poincare conjecture, threw at reporters through the closed door of his humble apartment in the southern part of the city.

“When I make a decision, you will find that out from the Clay Institute,” the scientist added and ended the conversation.

The conjecture, formulated in 1904 by the French mathematician Henri Poincare and often described as “one of the most burning mathematical questions of all time,” essentially claims that any three-dimensional space without holes in it is a sphere. Many distinguished mathematicians had struggled with the problem. The Poincare conjecture was one of the seven Millennium Prize Problems established by the Clay Mathematics Institute in 2000.


The idea of Perelman handing the money over to a charity was first voiced by a group of St. Petersburg communist politicians.

“The money could also be used to support the country’s up-and-coming scientific talent,” said Sergei Malinkovich, the leader of the Communists of St. Petersburg party.

Several charities, including the St. Petersburg-based Tyoply Dom (Warm House) have already volunteered to become recipients of some of the money, should Perelman decide to make a donation.

I agree with Sergei Mironov, speaker of the Council of Federation, who is quoted in the StPT article. Ultimately, it’ll remain Perelman’s decision whether he accepts the prize money, and it is, by any means, rude to make any claims towards the money.

So we’re sending “Congratulations!” to Russia and express hope that whatever Perelman’s decision may be, it will bring him happiness.

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