January 29, 2007
The prestigious journal Science has called Grigori Perelman's proof of the century-old Poincare Conjecture the breakthrough of the year. This came nearly four years after the reclusive Russian mathematician had released the first of three papers outlining his solution.
The mathematical concensus was that Perelman's proof was the biggest mathematical breakthrough of the new millenium. However, that has not stilled controversy and bitter feelings by other mathematicians who claim a share of the credit, if not the prize money tied to the solution. Even though Perelman was awarded a Fields Medal in Aigist 2006, Huai-Dong Cao of Lehigh University and Xi-Ping Zhu of Zhongshan University (Guangzhou, China) have asserted that they produced the "first written account of a complete proof".<.P>
To try to calm the rolling mathematical waters, the AMS hoped to host a panel discussion of the conjecture and its solution at the MAA-AMS Annual Meeting, in New Orleans, in early January 2007. Plans fell through, but John Ewing, the AMS director, said he would try again "at some time in the future".