A Genius Rejected $1 MILLION And Lived On $100 a Month

A Genius Rejected $1 MILLION And Lived On $100 a Month


What would you do if you were awarded a prize
of 1 million dollars? Thank the academy, grab the money, and buy
a yacht? That sounds like a good plan for most people,
but not Grigori Perelman, a math genius, who was offended by his prize and rejected it. Grigori Perelman was born on June 13, 1955
in Saint Petersburg, which was called Leningrad in the time of the Soviet Union. His parents were an electrical engineer and
a mathematician. His mom, the mathematician, gave up grad school
to raise Grigori and his little sister. She must have read math textbooks to them
instead of classic fairytales, because her son developed a talent for math when he was
a child. He went to a Secondary School that specialized
in Math and Physics. In 1982, as one of the best students in the
country, Perelman went to Budapest as a member of the Soviet national team to take part in
the International Mathematical Olympiad. And there, he won the golden medal for scoring
the maximum possible number of points! That same year, when he was still 16, he entered
the School of Mathematics and Mechanics at Leningrad State University, much earlier than
most other students normally do. By 1990, Perelman had completed his Ph.D.
and started working at the Leningrad Department of Steklov Institute of Mathematics of the
USSR Academy of Sciences. After a few articles that were a success in
both the Soviet and international scientific world, Perelman was invited to the US for
a semester at the Courant Institute in New York University. There, he first met famous mathematician Richard
Hamilton. Interestingly, later, when Perelman was asked
why he rejected his million-dollar award, he mentioned Hamilton. But I’ll talk more about that later. It was at that time that people were noticing
how … eccentric he was. He wasn’t exactly struggling financially
because he made good money during his fellowship. Yet, all he ate was traditional Russian brown
bread and cheese. Grigori never cut his nails, and when asked
about it, shrugged his shoulders and answered – “it’s natural, so why should I bother
cutting them?” In 1993, he was offered another great position;
he became a two-year Miller Research Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He kept attending Hamilton’s lectures and
got to know the professor better. Perelman told him he had some ideas that could
help Hamilton solve the Poincaré conjecture, but he didn’t pay much attention at the
moment. By the way, solving that very Poincaré conjecture
is what eventually made Perelman an official Math genius. During his time in California, Perelman was
asked to write a resumé to apply to different scientific positions worldwide. He was offended by that suggestion, saying
that people would learn enough from his works without any resumés, and if they wanted a
resumé, they’d obviously never read any of his work. Grigori was probably right, since he received
more than enough job offers after his fellowship at Berkeley. Stanford, Princeton, and Tel Aviv University,
just to name a few, wanted to have him among their research staff. Guess what Perelman picked? That’s right – none of the above. He explained that he did his best work in
Russia, so he returned to the Motherland in 1995. In his home town, he went back to his old
job at the Steklov Institute, a research position that paid him less than a hundred dollars
per month. But as you might have guessed by now, money
was never important for him, so Perelman was happy he could dedicate all his time and effort
to his favorite job with no distractions. At this time, he focused on solving the Poincaré
conjecture, which has to do with studying the deep structure of three-dimensional shapes. It’s extremely important, not only for math,
but also for theoretical physics and cosmology. Now, to give you an idea how complicated it
is – it’s the only one of all seven Millennium Prize Problems that have been solved so far. Anyone who can manage to solve any of these
math problems will be awarded 1 million dollars. The list was made by Clay Mathematics Institute
on May 24, 2000. This might sound like a great deal, but you
really must be a genius to solve any of these problems, otherwise they wouldn’t be called
millennium math problems, you know. Scientists and mathematicians spend years
trying to crack them. I should know. I spent my best years in high school, just
trying to pass Algebra. Heh heh. In Perelman’s case, he published his solution
in two articles online in 2002-2003. Verifying the correctness of that solution
took another 3 years. But even during the verification stage, and
with only the first half of his work online, he was invited to the US again to speak about
his ground-breaking discovery. He gave lectures at six leading American universities,
including Harvard, Princeton and Stanford, and hundreds of people attended them. He didn’t do it for attention or fame, but
in the name of science. Perelman wanted to find a solution for the
conjecture so much, he risked a lot by asking other scientists for their opinion before
his contribution had been officially acknowledged. Would it have been possible for someone else
to just steal his idea? Yes, and that nearly happened when Shing-Tung
Yau, whom Perelman had consulted, claimed it was his discovery. However, as Perelman explained to The New
Yorker reporters, if he’d made a mistake that someone would have caught and corrected,
helping to solve the math mystery, Perelman would still have been deeply satisfied because
all he cared about was the final result. He never wanted to become the only person
to have answered the Poincaré question. Knowing he was moving in the right direction,
Perelman published the second part of his article online in 2003 after having returned
to Russia. In 2006, the scientific world officially acknowledged
that the problem had been solved. The Science journal named it the scientific
“Breakthrough of the Year”, and he was announced the winner of the Fields Medal,
aka the mathematical Oscar and Nobel Prize combined. It’s only awarded once in four years to
mathematicians under 40, and is a huge honor. Guess what Perelman did? He refused to accept the medal! Professor John Ball, then-president of the
International Mathematical Union, journeyed to Saint Petersburg himself to convince Perelman
to come to Madrid and accept the award. His answer was still no, but he didn’t explain
why. Later, Perelman mentioned that the medal “was
irrelevant” to him; all that mattered was that the proof was correct, and he didn’t
want “to be on display like an animal in a zoo”. Probably the same fear of being an animal
at the zoo made Perelman quit his job at the Steklov Institute in 2006, and hide from the
rest of the world altogether. It’s said that he still lives with his mother
and sister in a tiny apartment in Saint Petersburg, and his own humble abode is filled with cockroaches. When spotted outside, he’s always seen in
the same dingy coat and trousers, with super long nails and a beard. What makes him seem even more secluded: he
always stares at the ground, and not the spectacular architecture of Saint Petersburg or the other
people around. Sometimes he’s spotted in the back rows
of Mariinsky Theatre, listening to an opera, but such cultural outings are extremely rare. In 2010, the Clay Mathematics Institute in
Cambridge, Massachusetts honored Perelman, officially naming him as the person who solved
the Millennium Prize math problem. Yes, the one that gives you 1 million dollars. Perelman said no to it. Remember how I promised I’d explain what
Richard Hamilton had to do with it? Well, Perelman stated that his contribution
to the solution wasn’t any greater than Richard Hamilton’s, and so it would be dishonest
for him to accept the prize as his own. Journalists then basically camped outside
his house, hoping to catch some comments, but he refused to go out to them. He only made one comment on the phone, saying
that he was “busy picking mushrooms” and they were disturbing him. At some point, Perelman decided to break all
ties with math. He said that while there are mathematicians
who are honest people, they are conformists, willing to tolerate those who are dishonest. People with stronger ethical principles thus
“remain in isolation”. For a few years, Perelman survived on his
mom’s old age pension, but in 2018, he finally started accepting proposals to give Math lectures
in Europe from time to time. Do you think Perelman did the right thing,
or do you think it was silly of him? Let me know down in the comments! If you learned something new today, then give
this video a like and share it with a friend. But – hey! – don’t go trim your finger
nails just yet! We have over 2,000 cool videos for you to
check out. All you have to do is pick the left or right
video, click on it, and enjoy! Stay on the Bright Side of life!

100 Replies to “A Genius Rejected $1 MILLION And Lived On $100 a Month”

  1. He has his own reason not accept the award. He could have done charity work in his own area with the cash. Any way we have to respect his view and unselfish life.

  2. I only have 1 similarity to this guy and that is to walk with my head down to see if I find money while avoid stepping in 💩 who knows I might be some genius of some sort 😊

  3. Only 2018? Oh… Hopefully he may think about it and share the knowledge and 2 of them got a price and cash.. if he thinks Richard Hamilton is good than him 2 of them get the prize and the awards…or 1M to Hamilton 800k to him

  4. Well a little bit silly. But when you think about it. He is right recognition is useless. Discover the solution is a reward. 🙂

  5. He's like me, I thought I'm the only one.
    Maybe some people think that it's a joke but no it's true.

  6. My childhood dream was to be a mathematician! 😍
    But, I am not successful in that.
    Actually I am not successful in anything I have done so far😅

  7. He did what he loved.
    And all other people are just jealous of him. That's it.
    People are just crazy and no mathematics could ever predict human craziness.

  8. We should not disturb him at all. Allow him as much isolation as he wants. Such genius give great contributions to humanity.

  9. He is who he is, that's why he is able to do what he did and it's not for us to judge him. We should judge his work ! If he were like us, there won't be any discovery !

  10. well ! idiots exist and exceptional people with vague priorities who arnt taught basic ethics of living..depends on the persons parents and circumstances whatever his thinking and living priorities.good or bad

  11. Just imagine the value of 1million dollars way back then. Its way more valuable than todays 1 million dollars.

  12. He was making a point. Maybe the money could have helped his family but he also had another moral conviction to uphold as well. Stick to your convictions.

  13. I think it's the best thing he do.. yes, every person needs money but too much always bad..

    Fame is not needed also wealth is not much needed just a little bit.. The only one you need is that you're happy what you're doing..

    he's philosophy is "Don't take it when you didn't own it."

  14. Well… its his life sooo… ya the its his choise we dont get to for himm(no offence plz no negative reply )thx for the video peace✌

  15. Refusing money that you earn is one thing but living off your mom pension as a grown man that can do better is urological.

  16. accepting money would add extra baggage to his genius brain. I would say not accepting the money kept him free from the commitments.

  17. It was silly ,
    Money always can get you essentials and also help the peolpe who are helping you ,
    But in his heart it may have been the right thing to do , and that is what mattered to him ,
    No greed there ,

  18. Take the price and divide it to 2. Maybe 3. One part for me.. Hahahaha I just Joking.

  19. Moral of the story.
    You can live alone in 100$ per month but even million dollars won't be enough if you are married

  20. it doesn't matter what we think if he's wrong or right.
    what matters is what he wants to do with his life. it's his own life, not you nor us to decide.

  21. if i were the genius like him.. i would accept the $1M dollar prize…

    you know why???
    i could buy my own coffin😇😇

  22. this man is really something! if I am a math genius the first thing I am gonna do is winning the powerball multi billion lottery jackpots

  23. He reminded me of Tesla. They could have been millionaire, but they both rejected and chose to hide from the public eye…they do what they love and that makes them unique, whatever we call them by a commoner…Tesla died poor and alone, but what he did was what he love the most. They know their works impacts a larger peple and advanced the life of human as a whole, thats all that matters to them.

  24. at least you should have studied Math well before making a video on math genius as the date of birth and age you mentioned is wrong. by the way, 99% of these commenters will unable to achieve and contribute even 1% of what he has contributed even if their life is extended to another lifetime.

  25. That money could save his sister his mom to be happy always smiling and always happy but i mean we all make our own decisions

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