In 2006, an eccentric Russian mathematician named Grigori Perelman solved one of the world´s greatest intellectual puzzles. The Poincare conjecture is an extremely complex topological problem that had eluded the best minds for over a century. In 2000, the Clay Institute in Boston named it one of seven great unsolved mathematical problems, and promised a million dollars to anyone who could find a solution. Perelman was awarded the prize this year - and declined the money. Journalist Masha Gessen was determined to find out why. Drawing on interviews with Perelman´s teachers, classmates, coaches, teammates, and colleagues in Russia and the US - and informed by her own background as a math whiz raised in Russia - she set out to uncover the nature of Perelman´s astonishing abilities. In telling his story, Masha Gessen has constructed a gripping and tragic tale that sheds rare light on the unique burden of genius.
Masha Gessen is a journalist who has written for Slate, Seed, the New Republic, the New York Times, and other publications, and is the author of two previous books.