The Poincaré conjecture is an extremely complex topological problem that had eluded the best mathematical minds for more than a century. In 2000, the Clay Institute in Boston named it one of seven great unsolved problems, and promised a million dollars to anyone who could find a solution. When Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman managed it, he was awarded the prize—but for his own eccentric reasons, he declined the money. Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen was determined to find out why. Informed by her own background as a math whiz raised in Russia, she uncovers the nature of Perelman's astonishing abilities and sheds rare light on the unique burden of genius.
"This strange tale highlights the intensity of the world of modern mathematics and the nature of some of the semi-autistic savants who live in it.... Perfect Rigour is readable, coherent, and enjoyable and we get a distinct image of a man crippled by his inabilities to empathize with or understand other men or women."—Observer (London)