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Customer Review

on December 4, 2009
This book is an attempt to describe the life, excentricities, education and feats of one of the most famous mathematicians of our century, Grisha Perelman, the man who cracked the Poincaré Conjecture via the proof of Thurston's Geometrization Conjecture (which classifies closed 3-manifolds).

At the same time the book describes the system of mathematics schools developed by Kolmogorov which, in spite of some interferences by the Soviet government, helped to create a blooming of Russian mathematicians. Having read recently Coyle's "The Talent Code", I think this is clearly one of the examples of the type of schools or training centers that he describes in his book and that breed talent, something that some governments interested to build a knowledge society (the Spanish government, for example)should investigate if they want to build successful science programs.

Unfortunately, the author could not talk to the elusive Perelman, probably an example of the Asperger's syndrome, but she did a good job of interviewing many colleagues and teachers of Perelman to give us a coherent view of the man.

The final thrill of this story is whether Perelman, who rejected the Fields Medal, will accept the 1,000,000 dollars Millenium Prize, soon to be awarded. And what is Perelman really doing now, after he quit the Steklov Mathematics Institute in St. Petersburg? Is he working on another famous problem? Or is he retired?

I fully recommend this book to anybody interested in mathematics.
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