Stuff I Found

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Oh, I don't want the Fields Metal...

"In 'A Beautiful Mind,' mathematics has been infused with the legend of the mad genius cut off from the physical world and dwelling in a separate realm of numbers. Last week, a reclusive Russian topologist named Grigory Perelman seemed to be playing to type, or stereotype, when he refused to accept the highest honor in mathematics, the Fields Medal." Perelman doesn't seem to like the idea of the award, that is, awarding a person for an idea when men must stand on the shoulders of giants to find them. Fame and awards encourage egotism, which gets in the way of the ultimate search for truth. Who cares about the Fields Medal? It ultimately means whatever we make it mean... does it mean anything? Is it good for egotists to compete in the search for truth, or do competitions and awards just waste time?

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