**A gripping and tragic tale that sheds rare light on the unique burden of genius**

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In 2006, an eccentric Russian mathematician named Grigori Perelman solved the Poincare Conjecture, an extremely complex topological problem that had eluded the best minds for over a century. A prize of one million dollars was offered to anyone who could unravel it, but Perelman declined the winnings, and in doing so inspired journalist Masha Gessen to tell his story. Drawing on interviews with Perelmanâ€™s teachers, classmates, coaches, teammates, and colleagues in Russia and the United Statesâ€”and informed by her own background as a math whiz raised in Russiaâ€”Gessen uncovered a mind of unrivaled computational power, one that enabled Perelman to pursue mathematical concepts to their logical (sometimes distant) end. But she also discovered that this very strength turned out to be Perelman's undoing and the reason for his withdrawal, first from the world of mathematics and then, increasingly, from the world in general.

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**Product Description**

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 1998, 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 will likely be awarded the prize this fall, and he will likely decline it. Fascinated by his story, journalist Masha Gessen was determined to find out why.

**A Q&A with Masha Gessen, Author of Perfect Rigor: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century**

(Photo © Vladimir Shirokov)

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. She lives in Moscow.

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