Of giants and worms 223

This information is accurate, though it  comes from the not entirely reliable, much criticized, but highly useful Wikipedia:

Grigori Yakovlevich Perelman is a Russian mathematician, who has made landmark contributions to Riemannian geometry and geometric topology. In particular, he proved Thurston’s geometrization conjecture. This solves in the affirmative the famous Poincaré conjecture, posed in 1904, which was viewed as one of the most important and difficult open problems in topology.

In August 2006, Perelman was awarded the Fields Medal for “his contributions to geometry and his revolutionary insights into the analytical and geometric structure of the Ricci flow”. Perelman declined to accept the award or to appear at the congress. On 22 December 2006, the journal Science recognized Perelman’s proof of the Poincaré conjecture as the scientific “Breakthrough of the Year”, the first such recognition in the area of mathematics. He has since ceased working on mathematics. On 18 March 2010, it was announced that he had met the criteria to receive the first Clay Millennium Prize Problems award of US $1,000,000 for resolution of the Poincaré conjecture but on July 1st, 2010 he turned down this 1 million dollar prize saying that he believes his contribution in proving the Poincare conjecture was no greater than that of U.S. mathematician Richard Hamilton, who first suggested a program for the solution.

Here is a man who will not accept an award he feels he does not deserve, even if the best judges in the world believe that he does.

Even more than his towering achievements in mathematics, this is the measure of his greatness.

What a contrast he is to Al Gore, who unblushingly accepted a Nobel Peace Prize for spreading a lie about global warming that made him a fortune; Barack Obama who accepted the same before he had done anything at all and has subsequently dragged America into debt and ignominy, and looks away when nations are invaded and oppressed; and Yasser Arafat, the grandfather of contemporary Islamic terrorism, who accepted it while unceasingly plotting genocide.

Much could be said in anger and bitterness of the misjudgment and low intelligence of the persons who award a prize with that name to liars, narcissists, hypocrites, and mass murderers.

To put it briefly, an inversion of long-established moral values by a self-designated intellectual elite deplorably characterizes our time.

Jillian Becker  July 3, 2010