Friday, August 25, 2006

May I bring to your attention my paper

A wonderful article in the New Yorker, by Sylvia Nasar and David Gruber, on the Poincare hypothesis, and the battle for priority. A person like Perelman is almost certain to feel lost in this maze.

Perelman, by casually posting a proof on the Internet of one of the most famous problems in mathematics, was not just flouting academic convention but taking a considerable risk. If the proof was flawed, he would be publicly humiliated, and there would be no way to prevent another mathematician from fixing any errors and claiming victory. But Perelman said he was not particularly concerned. “My reasoning was: if I made an error and someone used my work to construct a correct proof I would be pleased,” he said. “I never set out to be the sole solver of the PoincarĂ©.”

And Chinese mathematics comes across as some sort of weird cult.

1 comment:

gaddeswarup said...

There is also a nice article:
without going too much in to politics. This sort of controversies have been going on and I do not think that it has any thing to do with Chinese. There is an ongoing controversy on Tarski problems with people still posting papers on websites and constantly changing them. But the Newyorker article does give very nice potrait of Perelman. I think that he is protesting about the general attitude where even honest mathematicians are keeping quiet about some of the dishonest practices which one would not expect in a subject like mathematics.