A year ago I blogged about the Clay Mathematics Institute and its million dollar prize for solving one of seven longstanding problems. One of those problems is the Poincare Conjecture, which is a statement about how shapes and surfaces can be classified. Today, Tiffany handed me an article from Science magazine (not available online to a non-AAAS member such as myself) which states that a Russian mathematician named Grigory Perelman may have solved it. Here's an statement of the conjecture and how Ricci intends to solve it. For a mathophile like me, this is nearly as big as Andrew Wiles' recent conquest of the Fermat Theorem.
What makes this even cooler is that Perelman's work stems from a groundbreaking idea of William Thurston, who recently commented on this Calpundit post about math education. You get all of the best comments, Kevin!
Anyway, Perelman has a ways to go before claiming his million. The conditions of the prize say that the proof has to have been reviewed for two years first. So stay tuned.Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 28, 2003 to Technology, science, and math | TrackBack