It's like Good Will Hunting, Russian style! Grigory Perelman, a 43-year-old unemployed genius, solved a century-old math problem and is in line for a big payday, but so far he's saying "nyet" to the prize money.
The award, offered by the Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is for proving the Poincare conjecture, which is something involving a fourth dimension and shapes.
This isn't the first time Perelman has declined a prize. In 2006, he won a Fields Medal, sometimes called the Nobel prize of mathematics, but didn't show up for the ceremony. Why wouldn't Perelman want the prize and prestige? According to a professor who spoke with the AP:
Dean Simonton, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis, said the field of abstract mathematics can attract people who live in extreme isolation, are aggressively nonconformist and "too often let their personalities interfere with their professional success."
Perelman hasn't officially made up his mind about accepting the money yet, but the St. Petersburg chapter of the Communist Party said it would gladly take it off his hands if he doesn't want it.
[Image via Miramax]