Lessons from Perelman Story

The life story of Perelman:

  • the mathematician who solved the PointCaré Conjecture
  • rejected the Fields Prize (the first and only person to do so)
  • rejected 1 mil US$ prize for his solution of the Conjecture.

has left me with some realizations that I think you may find useful or otherwise thought-provoking.

If you don’t know about him, you can read my summary about Perelman story here.

Below are the main lessons I’ve learned:

  • I used to dislike early specialization programs for young pupils. But Perelman’s story has made me more open to this.
    I now accept that it may be necessary for finding and growing exceptionally talented people (esp. in Math?). Hence, it seems important to help children identify their talents as early as possible, by giving them many opportunities to get exposed to various disciplines. (This is not the same as forcing young people to follow a field decided by parents or someone else)

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Perelman – The Math Genius Who rejected the Fields Prize

Grigory Perelman is:

  • A Russian, born in 1966.
  • Careful, disciplined and precise in his thinking, ever since his childhood. Since a young age, he’s already quite uninterested in the “real” world, because the only world to him is Math.
  • Won IMO 1982’s gold medal – and he’s known for “there is no Math question he can’t solve”  (I guess, no high school Math question).
  • A geometry type of Mathematician: he solves problems using shapes, drawing lines, etc. This explains why he’s born for Topology, a field of Math that concerns a lot of shapes and dimensions.

Continue reading Perelman – The Math Genius Who rejected the Fields Prize