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Perfect Rigor: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century
 
 
Author
Masha Gessen.
Publisher Houghton Mifflin  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.25 x 0.95 inches
ISBN 9780151014064
Pages/Publication Date 242/2009
Daedalus Item Code 30033
This item is not available.
Description
In 2006, an eccentric Russian mathematician named Grigori Perelman was awarded the prestigious Fields Medal for solving one of the world's greatest intellectual puzzles—the Poincaré Conjecture, an extremely complex topological problem that had eluded the best minds for over a century. Yet Perelman refused the prize, just as he later refused a million-dollar award from the Clay Institute in Boston. Fascinated by his story, journalist Masha Gessen set out to uncover the nature of Perelman's genius. What she found was a mind of unrivalled computational power, one that enabled Perelman to pursue mathematical concepts to their logical (sometimes distant) end. But she also discovered that this very strength has turned out to be his undoing: such a mind is unable to cope with the messy reality of human affairs. When the jealousies, rivalries, and passions of life intruded on his Platonic ideal, Perelman began to withdraw—first from the world of mathematics and then, increasingly, from the world in general. In telling his story, Gessen has constructed a gripping and tragic tale that sheds rare light on the unique burden of genius.

"Gessen details the special Russian schools for young mathematical prospects that Perelman attended and describes apparently incorrigible Russian anti-Semitism. Most important, the gist of her excellent discussion of the Poincaré's Conjecture and its proof should be intelligible even to readers lacking a background in higher mathematics. General science buffs curious about how researchers go about creating new mathematics or about the eccentric personalities in this field will be fascinated by Gessen's book."—Library Journal

 
 
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