Perfect Rigor: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Nov 11, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages

A gripping and tragic tale that sheds rare light on the unique burden of genius

In 2006, an eccentric Russian mathematician named Grigori Perelman solved the Poincare Conjecture, an extremely complex topological problem that had eluded the best minds for over a century. A prize of one million dollars was offered to anyone who could unravel it, but Perelman declined the winnings, and in doing so inspired journalist Masha Gessen to tell his story. Drawing on interviews with Perelman’s teachers, classmates, coaches, teammates, and colleagues in Russia and the United States—and informed by her own background as a math whiz raised in Russia—Gessen uncovered a mind of unrivaled computational power, one that enabled Perelman to pursue mathematical concepts to their logical (sometimes distant) end. But she also discovered that this very strength turned out to be Perelman's undoing and the reason for his withdrawal, first from the world of mathematics and then, increasingly, from the world in general.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MathMaverick - www.librarything.com

An excellent book on a very interesting topic. I enjoyed how Soviet math clubs were presented in the book, very eye opening. Perelman is unbelievable, definitely "made of different dough". He is a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - austin.sears - www.librarything.com

The story of Perelman is an interesting one, and this is a fast read. The author spends a lot of time discussing historical context: what the soviet union was like, who the greatest soviet ... Read full review

Contents

2 How to Make a Mathematician
7
3 A Beautiful School
8
4 A Perfect Score
8
5 Rules for Adulthood
8
6 Guardian Angels
8
7 Round Trip
8
8 The Problem
8
9 The Proof Emerges
9
11 The MillionDollar Question
11
Acknowledgments
24
Notes
25
Index
7
Back Flap
109
Back Cover
110
Spine
111
Copyright

10 The Madness
10

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About the author (2009)

MASHA GESSEN has written for Slate, the New Republic,Vanity Fair, the New York Times, and other publications. The author of three previous books, she lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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