2006年国际数学家大会上四位数学家获菲尔兹奖

（转自纽约时报）

**Four Are Given Highest Honor in Mathematics**

Courtesy of
International Congress for Mathematicians

Terence Tao, a native of

Grigory Perelman, a
reclusive Russian mathematician who solved a key piece in a century-old puzzle
known as the Poincaré conjecture, was one of four
mathematicians awarded the Fields Medal today.

Courtesy of
International Congress for Mathematicians

Grigory Perelman is
the most prominent of the medalists, not only because the Poincaré
conjecture had ranked among the most heralded unsolved math problems, but also
because of his reclusive personality.

Courtesy of
International Congress for Mathematicians

Wendelin Werner, top,
works on problems at the intersection of mathematics and physics. Andrei Okounkov, bottom, was honored "for his contributions
bridging probability, representation theory and algebraic geometry."

The Fields
Medal, often described as mathematics’ equivalent to the Nobel Prize, is given
every four years. The other Fields medalists, announced at the International
Congress for Mathematicians in Madrid, are Andrei Okounkov,
a professor of mathematics at Princeton;
Terence Tao, 31, a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles; and Wendelin Werner, a professor of mathematics at the
University of Paris-Sud in Orsay.

Dr. Perelman, 40, is
known not only for his work on the Poincaré
conjecture, among the most heralded unsolved math problems, but also because he
has declined previous mathematical prizes and has turned down job offers from
Princeton, Stanford and other universities. He has said he wants no part of $1
million that the Clay Mathematics Institute in

According to an article
in the Aug. 28 issue of The New Yorker, Sir John M. Ball, president of the
International Mathematical Union, the organization that chooses the Fields
medalists, visited Dr. Perelman in

The union decided to
bestow a medal on Dr. Perelman anyway.

Beginning in 2002, Dr.
Perelman, who was then at the Steklov Institute of
Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, published a
series of papers on the Internet and gave lectures at several American
universities describing how he had overcome a roadblock in the proof of the Poincaré conjecture.

The conjecture, devised
by Henri Poincaré in 1904, essentially says that the
only shape that does not have any holes and fits within a finite space is a
sphere. That is certainly true looking at two-dimensional surfaces in the
everyday three-dimensional world, but the conjecture says the same is true for
three-dimensional surfaces embedded in four dimensions.

Dr. Perelman solved a
difficult problem that other mathematicians had encountered when trying to
prove the conjecture using a technique called Ricci flow that smoothes out
bumps in a surface and transforms the surfaces into simpler forms.

Courtesy of
International Congress for Mathematicians

Dr. Okounkov,
born in

Dr. Okounkov’s
work has found use in describing the changing surfaces of melting crystals. The
boundary between melted and non-melted is created randomly, but the random
process inevitably produces a border in the shape of a heart.

Dr. Tao, a native of
Australia and one of the youngest Fields Medal winners ever at age 31, has
worked in several different fields, producing significant advances in the
understanding of prime numbers, techniques that might lead to simplifying the
equations of Einstein’s theory of general relativity and the equations of
quantum mechanics that describe how light bounces around in a fiber optic
cable.

Dr. Werner, born in

The medal was conceived
by John Charles Fields, a Canadian mathematician, “in recognition of work
already done and as an encouragement for further achievements on the part of
the recipient.”

Since 1936, when the
medal was first awarded, judges have interpreted the terms of Dr. Fields’s trust fund to mean that the award should usually
be limited to mathematicians 40 years old or younger.

（转自纽约时报）