Four years ago when Grigori Perelman, a Russian mathematical genius, solved the Poincare Conjecture (which was one of the most elusive problems in mathematics) he was offered several large prizes, including the Fields Medal and the Clay Prize of $1 million USD. In an unprecedented (and I think, rather admirable) move he turned everything down and left mathematics in protest of its ethical standards. He now lives, jobless, in a tiny flat in St. Petersburg with his mother.
He’s come under new pressure from a children’s charity in Russia to accept the prize and donate it to charity. Will he do it? From the BBC:
The mathematician is reported to have said “I have all I want” when contacted by a reporter this week about the Clay Millennium Prize.
According to the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, he was speaking through the closed door of his flat.