Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Caveman wins math prize
Grigori Perelman, a Russian genius and UCLA math professor, has recently been announced as the winner of the Fields Medal, the math world's highest honor. The Fields Medal is like the Noble Prize, but for Mathematics, and is awarded every 4 years. Perelman (pictured at left), who is super hairy and weird-looking, won the award by solving a key piece in a century-old problem in his 600-page paper about three-dimensional space called the Poincare Conjecture. Ah, the things you can accomplish when you don't waste time on petty and inconsequential things like bathing or grooming yourself.
But something is amiss: apparently Perelman is refusing to accept the award, which on this occasion is going to be awarded by the King of Spain at the 2006 International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid Spain from August 22-30th (in case you want to go).
To me this is all pretty obvious. It's not that Perelman doesn't want to go. It's just that his schedule is packed that week. He's going to be pretty busy discovering fire, creating the wheel, and bludgeoning the leader of a rival tribe to death with the femur of a tapir.