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Math News, Articles and Events

The following was from AOL

Math Genius Turns Down $1M After Solving Riddle

Updated: 24 minutes ago
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Terence Neilan

Terence Neilan Contributor

(July 2) -- He has a love for numbers, but not if they come with a dollar sign attached.

Grigory Perelman's mathematical genius won the reclusive Russian a $1 million prize for solving what had been seen as the world's hardest problem. On Thursday, he turned it down.

In 2006, Perelman was due to collect the equivalent of $14,000 in Canadian dollars as the recipient of the Fields Medal, considered math's Nobel Prize. He turned it down.

In 1996, he was awarded a prize by the European Congress of Mathematicians. Yes, that's right: He turned it down.
Grigori Perelman is shown in this undated photo released by the International Mathematicians Congress
International Mathematicians Congress, AP
Number genius Grigori Perelman, shown in an undated photo, has apparently left lots of cash on the table, refusing to pick up prize money for solving one of math's most vexing problems.

He rejected the Clay Mathematics Institute's $1 million because he thought it was unfair and "unjust," saying that a U.S. mathematician deserved as much credit as he did, the Interfax news agency said.

The Cambridge, Mass., institute posted his rejection on its website and said it would wait until the fall before deciding what to do with the money.

Perelman's fame is due to his solving a riddle that has had mathematicians scratching their heads since 1904, when the Frenchman Henri Poincare posited that a three-dimensional sphere is the only such space that doesn't have holes.

The Russian attracted attention in 2003 when he posted papers on the Internet that later turned out to be proof of Poincare's theory. But Perelman refuses to take all the credit, saying he had built on the work of a Columbia University professor, Richard Hamilton.

The president of the Clay Institute, James Carlson, said that he had spoken with Perelman by phone and that he was, "as usual, quite pleasant" but "firm in his decision" not to accept its prize, The New York Times reported.

According to Interfax, Perelman said, "To put it short, the main reason is my disagreement with the organized mathematical community. I don't like their decisions. I consider them unjust."

Back in 2006, the then president of the International Mathematical Union, John Ball, said he had traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, where Perelman lives in seclusion with his elderly mother, to try to better understand the Russian's reasons for rejecting awards.

Ball told the BBC he had spoken to Perelman about his differences with the mathematical community.

"However, I am unable to disclose these comments in public," Ball said, adding, "He has a different psychological makeup, which makes him see life differently."
Filed under: Nation, World, Weird News, Science

Why Isn't There a Nobel Prize in Mathematics?

by Peter Ross

Back to Articles on the Public Understanding of Math


When I was a student at a leading American university one of my mathematics professors answered the above question in class. He claimed that the Swedish mathematician Gosta Magnus Mittag-Leffler had run off with Alfred Nobel's wife. Supposedly, later in revenge Nobel refused to endow one of his prizes in mathematics. I loved repeating this juicy story, but my faith in it was somewhat shaken when I found out that Nobel had never married! A Swedish version of the story even made it into one of Howard Eves' s collections of mathematical anecdotes (p.13O of Mathematical Circles, Quadrants III and no, 1969). According to this version Mittag-Leffler, in the process of accumulating his own considerable wealth, antagonized Nobel. Nobel, afraid that Mittag-Leffler as the leading Swedish mathematician might win a Nobel prize in mathematics, then refused to institute such a prize.

 To read the full article click here.


Fields Medal

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The obverse of the Fields Medal

The Fields Medal is a prize awarded to two, three, or four mathematicians not over 40 years of age at each International Congress of the International Mathematical Union, a meeting that takes place every four years. The Fields Medal is often viewed as the top honor a mathematician can receive.[1][2] It comes with a monetary award, which in 2006 was C$15,000 (US$15,000 or 10,000).[3] Founded at the behest of Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields,[4] the medal was first awarded in 1936, to Finnish mathematician Lars Ahlfors and American mathematician Jesse Douglas, and has been periodically awarded since 1950. Its purpose is to give recognition and support to younger mathematical researchers who have made major contributions.

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Math Olympiad

Video clips from the new public television documentary Hard Problems:

Video1 Day1 Day2

Math Prodigy Terence Tao, UCLA click here.

USA Math Olympiad winner Alex Zhai receives another $15,000 scholarship

By Gargoyle news staff
Posted Thursday, May 24, 2007, The OG, news & student awards


Alex Zhai tied for the second-highest
score in this year's USA Math Olympiad.
(Gargoyle photo) (click to enlarge)

JUNIOR ALEX ZHAI has won a $15,000 scholarship for earning the second-highest score in the 2007 United States of America Mathematical Olympiad.

Zhai received the scholarship Monday in a ceremony at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. This is the second $15,000 scholarship that Zhai has received in as many years.

In 2006, Zhai also earned the second-highest USAMO score. This year he tied for second with Sherry Gong, a Harvard-bound senior at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H. Gong also received a $15,000 scholarship.

The two students scored 28 out of a possible 42 points. Only 505 students out of an original pool of 225,000 candidates were invited to compete in the USAMO, which is a six-question test that is completed over two days using precalculus concepts and methods. To read the full article click here.

Fermat's Last Theorem

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The 1670 edition of Diophantus' Arithmetica includes Fermat's commentary, particularly his "Last Theorem" (Observatio Domini Petri de Fermat).

In number theory, Fermat's Last Theorem states that no three positive integers a, b, and c can satisfy the equation an + bn = cn for any integer value of n greater than two. This theorem was first conjectured by Pierre de Fermat in 1637, but was not proven until 1995 despite the efforts of many mathematicians. The unsolved problem stimulated the development of algebraic number theory in the 19th century and the proof of the modularity theorem in the 20th. It is among the most famous theorems in the history of mathematics.

Fermat left no proof of the conjecture for all n, but he did prove the special case n = 4. (This case had already been proved by Leonardo Fibonacci in 1225 in his Liber quadratorum although this fact is often overlooked in discussions of Fermat's Last Theorem.) This reduced the problem to proving the theorem for exponents n that are prime numbers. Over the next two centuries (1637–1839), the conjecture was proven for only the primes 3, 5, and 7, although Sophie Germain proved a special case for all primes less than 100. In the mid-19th century, Ernst Kummer proved the theorem for a large (probably infinite) class of primes known as regular primes. Building on Kummer's work and using sophisticated computer studies, other mathematicians were able to prove the conjecture for all odd primes up to four million. To read the full article click here.

Fermat's Last Theorem Video


Traffic jam mystery solved by mathematicians

December 19, 2007 Car traffic

Mathematicians from the University of Exeter have solved the mystery of traffic jams by developing a model to show how major delays occur on our roads, with no apparent cause. Many traffic jams leave drivers baffled as they finally reach the end of a tail-back to find no visible cause for their delay.

 To read the full article click here.


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