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Biography of Grigory Perelman – an outstanding mathematician of our time


A few years ago, the Russian mathematician Perelman Grigory Yakovlevich became known to the whole world, whose biography is interesting to everyone mainly because this scientist showed an unprecedented nobility for modern times, refusing prestigious awards.

Childhood and Perelman’s first steps in mathematics

Grigory Perelman was born on July 13, 1966 in a Jewish family in Leningrad. His father, an electrical engineer, emigrated to Israel in 1993, and his mother, Lyubov Leibovna, remained in St. Petersburg with her son, where she worked at a vocational school as a mathematics teacher. She herself played the violin and was able to instill in Grisha a love of classical music.

Biography of Grigory Perelman - an outstanding mathematician of our time

Until the ninth grade, Grisha studied at a school located on the outskirts of the city, but from the fifth grade he began to attend a mathematical center located in the Palace of Pioneers. The center was headed by Sergey Rukshin, associate professor of the Russian State Pedagogical University, his students constantly won awards at mathematics olympiads. As a member of the team of schoolchildren, Grigory won a gold medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Budapest in 1982, having irreproachably solved all problems. The biography of the mathematician Perelman has already begun here.

Then he graduated from the specialized Leningrad Physics and Mathematics School No. 239. Grigory not only went to a music school, but also played table tennis well. But, without passing the TRP standards, he could not qualify for a gold medal.

Continuing education

Without exams, Perelman was admitted to Leningrad State University at the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics. Even a brief biography of Perelman makes it clear that this person has the ability to exact science given from above. He continued to win at various levels of mathematical Olympiads and continued to study only with excellent marks. Success in studies brought him a Lenin scholarship. After graduating from the university with honors, Perelman continued his postgraduate studies under the guidance of Academician A.D. Aleksandrov, which existed at the Leningrad branch of the Mathematical Institute. Steklov (LOMI). In 1990, he defended his Ph.D. thesis here, after which he remained to work here as a senior researcher.

Video about the biography of Grigory Perelman

International level

After defending his dissertation and working at the Mathematical Institute of the Academy of Sciences, Grigory Perelman went on a two-year internship at the University of Berkeley (USA). Here he got as close as possible to the method that would help him solve his main mathematical problem. He surprised his colleagues with an ascetic life, being content with cheese, milk and bread.

When Perelman worked in the USA, he most often attended the lectures of the mathematician Richard Hamilton, the master of mathematics, who also sought to prove the Poincaré conjecture. He developed the Ricci flow method, intended for physics, but Perelman was also interested in it.

When the mathematician returned to Russia in 1996, he was closely engaged in the development of methods suitable for proving the Poincaré conjecture, and after a short time he made significant progress in this direction. He chose a completely non-standard approach to solving the problem, applying the same Ricci flows to confirm the correctness and correctness of his calculations. Perelman informed his American colleague about the progress, but there was no response. Hamilton’s calculations of the Russian scientist seemed frivolous, and he refused to continue the joint work. However, it could be understood, because in his conclusions Perelman combined mathematical calculations with the postulates of theoretical physics, in other words, he solved with the help of related sciences the topological problem of geometry,

The birth of the proof of the Poincaré conjecture

For the next seven years, the biography of Grigory Perelman seemed to be absent – he literally fell out of the circle of colleagues – no one knew what he was doing at that time. And so, in November 2002, on the site where mathematicians and physicists post their work, an article by Grigory Perelman appeared, where the proof of the Poincare conjecture was presented. It was proved only on 39 pages, where it was a particular example demonstrating the essence of the study.

Biography of Grigory Perelman - an outstanding mathematician of our time

At the same time, Perelman sent his work to Hamilton and Zhen Tian, ​​a Chinese mathematician with whom he became friends in America, and a number of other scientists whose opinion he valued.

Why did Perelman so easily let his scientific work into the scientific masses, to which he devoted several most stressful years of his life? Didn’t he have fears that others could use his calculations and pass them off as their own? After all, the solution to this mathematical problem was estimated at a million dollars, and he published it on the Internet without waiting for verification.

To such questions from American journalists, Perelman replied that he was driven by the premise: if there is an error in his work, and someone else can correct it in order to complete the proof, then this would satisfy the author himself. He also explained it this way:

  • Perelman admitted that he did not set himself the indispensable goal of being the sole author of the proof of this mathematical problem.
  • For him, proving one of the Millennium Challenges was a common cause.
  • He did not dream of becoming famous or getting rich on this.
  • There was no task to prove their uniqueness. He just did what he was truly passionate about.

As soon as Perelman’s first article appeared on the Internet, concerning the entropy formula for the Ricci flow, a real bomb exploded in scientific circles.

Checking the evidence

  • In 2003, the mathematician agreed to visit several American universities with a series of reports. There he spent considerable time explaining his methods and ideas both in public lectures and in meetings with eminent mathematicians. And when he returned to his homeland, he answered by e-mail the questions of foreign colleagues.
  • From 2004 to 2006, Perelman’s work was carefully checked by three groups of mathematicians independently of one another. All of them found no flaws in the author’s calculations, which meant that the Poincaré problem no longer existed. At the same time, several Chinese mathematicians tried to resort to plagiarism, saying that they had found a complete proof, however, then they disavowed their words.

Video about the biography of mathematician Grigory Perelman

Further, Perelman’s biography takes another turn – in 2005 he leaves the laboratory of mathematical physics and the institute, almost completely stopping communication with colleagues. He showed no further interest in a scientific career. Currently, Grigory Perelman lives with his mother in Kupchino, ignoring the press and leading a very secluded life.

Grades and recognition of Grigory Perelman

  • In 1996, Perelman was awarded a prize from the European Mathematical Society, but he refused it.
  • For solving the Poincaré problem in 2006, he was awarded both the Fields Prize and the Fields Medal, which is the so-called Nobel Prize in Mathematics. But Perelman refused this award.
  • In 2006, Science magazine named Perelman’s work the scientific breakthrough of the year, and for the first time such a title was given to a work in mathematics.
  • In 2010, the Clay Mathematical Institute awarded Perelman one million dollars, this was the first precedent for awarding a prize for solving one of the mathematical “millennium problems".
  • In the same year, Perelman did not come to Paris for the mathematical conference where this prize was to be awarded, and on July 1 he publicly refused it. Perelman’s reasons were very strange according to the concepts of modern society. He disagreed with the mathematical community, believing his decisions were unfair. Perelman did not forget that he used the works of Hamilton and believed that he deserved recognition in this victory no less than Perelman himself.

Such a public assessment of the merits of another mathematician by a recognized author of the proof is a thoroughly forgotten phenomenon of nobility in modern science. Perelman noted meanwhile that, having encountered insurmountable technical problems, Hamilton was unable to complete his research.

Biography of Grigory Perelman - an outstanding mathematician of our time

At the moment, Grigory Perelman does not remind of his existence. He does not make contacts with either Russian or foreign correspondents. But interest in him does not fade over time, essays and books continue to be written about him. Even the first issue of the Israeli version of Playboy, released in March 2013, published a lengthy article about Grigory Perelman. A few years ago, Perelman, after much persuasion, agreed to take part in the creation of a popular science film with the loud title "Formula of the Universe."