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# Russian cracks unique math riddle

Paul McKenna
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Commentary From the Sidelines of history
Jim Yingst
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Joined: Jan 30, 2000
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Looks like the Times of India needs to learn how to compose proper HTML. Here's the text, for those of us using browsers which are less tolerant of crap than IE is:
Russian cracks unique math riddle
[ WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2003 12:14:21 AM ]

A Russian mathematician is reporting that he has proved the Poincare Conjecture, one of the most famous unsolved problems in mathematics.
The mathematician, Dr Grigori Perelman of the Steklov Institute of Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg, is describing his work in a series of papers, not yet completed.
It will be months before the proof can be thoroughly checked. But if true, it will verify a statement about three-dimensional objects that has haunted mathematicians for nearly a century, and its consequences will reverberate through geometry and physics.
Formulated by the French mathematician Henri Poincare in 1904, the Poincare Conjecture is a central question in topology, the study of the geometrical properties of objects that do not change when the object is stretched, twisted or shrunk. The hollow shell of the surface of the earth is what topologists would call a two-dimensional sphere. It has the property that every lasso of string encircling it can be pulled tight to one spot.
On the surface of a doughnut, by contrast, a lasso passing through the hole in the centre cannot be shrunk to a point without cutting through the surface.
Since the 19th century, mathematicians have known that the sphere is the only bounded two-dimensional space with this property, but what about higher dimensions?
The Poincare Conjecture makes a corresponding statement about the three-dimensional sphere, a concept that is a stretch for the nonmathematician to visualise. It says, essentially, that the three-dimensional sphere is the only bounded three-dimensional space with no holes.
If his proof is accepted for publication in a refereed research journal and survives two years of scrutiny, Dr Perelman could be eligible for a \$1 million prize sponsored by the Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for solving what the institute identifies as one of the seven most important unsolved mathematics problems of the millennium. NYT News Service

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Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
Dr Perelman could be eligible for a \$1 million prize sponsored by the Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for solving what the institute identifies as one of the seven most important unsolved mathematics problems of the millennium.

When one is solved does the list become the six most important unsolved mathematics problems or do they add the runner-up problem to keep the list at seven?

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