Posted by **Bill Ryan**
(here)
[There's a similar example, actually. Such a fascinating human story.

Another very famous conjecture

*(a 'conjecture' is something mathematicians believe is true, but it's never actually been proved)* was called

**The Poincaré Conjecture.** The best of the very best in the world had tried and failed to make any progress at all for a whole century.

Then a brilliant, eccentric, reclusive Russian,

Grigori Perelman, succeeded. When he mentioned that he'd proved it, at first no-one believed him. But then others checked, out of intense curiosity, and realized that he was 100% right. He'd really done it.

He was awarded the Fields Medal (this is like the Nobel Prize for Math), but he declined it. Then he was awarded a million dollars cash, which was a longstanding prize for whoever might possibly prove the Poincaré conjecture. And he turned down the million dollars, too, though he was living in his mother's apartment in genuine poverty.

He said:

*"I'm not interested in money or fame; I don't want to be on display like an animal in a zoo."*

This article describes Perelman quite well, after he'd refused the million dollar prize:

*Homo Erectus *would find all that hard to understand, too.

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