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
2 Reviews

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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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 is a journalist who has written for Slate, Seed, the New Republic, the New York Times, and other publications, and is the author of numerous books, including The Future is History, which has been nominated for the National Book Award. 

Bibliographic information