Grigori Perelman and Money

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Grigori Perelman and Money: Will you decline 1 million to make a statement?

Xah Lee, 2010-04-20

One of the Millennium Prize Problems is solved, by Grigori Perelman.

The Millennium problem is a award of 1 million dollars for solving any one of the 7 most important math problems, proposed by the Clay Math Institute. The institute announced it here: Prize For Resolution of the Poincaré Conjecture Awarded to Dr. Grigoriy Perelman (2010-03-18), at Source.

Who is Grigori Perelman? This guy, lives in poverty (like me), and solved the problem in 2003. He is awarded the Fields Medal in 2006, which is highest recognized award for math, comes with $15k USD, but he declined. This behavior i very much understand, and is something i'd do too. $15k? what a peanut. I can sell my website for 15k. That's barely enough for 1 year's subsistence in most developed countries.

For recognition of achievement, one needs not these stinking social awards for solving recognized problems, as he rightfully expressed. The New Yorker reported:

“He proposed to me three alternatives: accept and come; accept and don't come, and we will send you the medal later; third, I don't accept the prize. From the very beginning, I told him I have chosen the third one.” The Fields Medal held no interest for him, Perelman explained. “It was completely irrelevant for me,” he said. “Everybody understood that if the proof is correct then no other recognition is needed.”

Quote from: Manifold Destiny: A legendary problem and the battle over who solved it. (2006-08-28), by Sylvia Nasar and David Gruber, at Source: New Yorker.

However, now in 2010-03-18, Clay announced that his work also qualified their $1 giga USD award. Would he still decline it? Not sure if he made a decision yet. I wouldn't decline.

For practical considerations, awards of cash is a practical, substantiated, recognition, as opposed to political or mouthing ones. (Nobel is one of the worst fuck, especially with their Peace department) Sure, if you are haughty and or with a ascetic life style, you can still decline. I wouldn't. Even living in a ascetic lifestyle that's technically below poverty, i'd still enjoy the security of permanent supply of bread and butter, and mostly a shelter. And even if one does not need the money, he could turn the money to orgs he consider worthwhile, or whatever causes he sees need to change on society. He earned the money.

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