Mathematician rejects prize of $1 million cash

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Grigory Perelman, the Russian mathematician who cracked a century-old geometric conundrum that has eluded the world's sharpest brains, has rejected a $1 million prize.

Perelman, also known as Grisha, snubbed the cash on principle. He is famously reclusive and has a history of declining awards. His decision is believed to be due to his mistrust of his fellow mathematicians and their qualifications to administer such honors.

"The main reason is my disagreement with the organized mathematical community," Perelman told Interfax, the Russian news agency. "I don't like their decisions; I consider them unjust."

The prize, awarded by the Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Mass., is in recognition of Perelman's having solved one of math's most intractable problems. In 2003, the whiz posted a paper on the Internet proving the Poincare conjecture, which holds that any three-dimensional space without holes is essentially a sphere.

It took the math community several years to verify that Perelman had definitively solved the problem.

For his work, in 2006 the Clay Institute awarded Perelman the prestigious Fields Medal, math's equivalent to an Oscar. He spurned that honor as well.

The institute has said it would announce this fall how it would spend the award money.

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