Thursday, September 09, 2004


Mathematicians at Sydney Conference Link Perelman Proof to Natural Disasters

Late yesterday afternoon in Sydney, Australia, at the Fourteenth Annual World Conference on the Mathematics of Fog, Purdue mathematician Louis le Branges announced his solution to the Reimann Hypothesis. First posed in 1859, the Reimann Hypothesis is one of seven mathematical puzzles designated four years ago by the Clay Mathematical Institute for their million-dollar Millennium Prizes.

But the big buzz at the Sydney conference has surrounded a solution offered two years ago to another CMI puzzle, the so-called the Poincaré conjecture.

The rules established by the CMI for a claimant to win a prize are (a) that the solution must be published in a reputable mathematical journal, and (b) that it must not be disproved during a two-year waiting period.

If Professor le Branges' solution to the Reimann Hypothesis is correct, therefore, it will be two years before he can claim his million dollars.

In 2002, a reclusive Russian mathematician named Grigoriy Perelman published a proof of the Poincaré conjecture, posited by H. Poincaré in 1904--but not in a mathematical journal. Rather, he posted it to his website, Indeed he seems disinclined to pursue publication, and thus the prize money--although, two years on, the general consensus of the mathematician community is that Perelman has indeed solved the puzzle.

To put it in layman's terms, the Poincaré conjecture states that every simply connected closed three-manifold is homeomorphic to the three-sphere--which is to say, in baby talk (begging the reader's pardon for this condescension), that the three-sphere is the only type of bounded three-dimensional space possible that contains no holes.

What has caused the furore at the Sydney conference has been a theory put forth by the so-called Bucharest School of Sufi Math that links the holes that inevitably appear in other bounded three-dimensional spaces with the recent natural disasters variously dubbed by the media as "pseudo-raptures" and "urban degravitation events." Initially met with skepticism and even overt scorn, the Bucharest School theory now seems to be finding widespread acceptance, and it seems increasingly likely that Perelman's solution to the Poincaré conjecture can help explain the "leakage" of random people and things--even whole cities--through the four-sphere of the space-time continuum and reappearance in the storm drains of heaven.

(For counterarguments that the space-time continuum is actually a five-sphere, a six-sphere, or even, laughably, a seven-and-three-eighths-sphere, see Swales (2004), Pinpop (2004), and Globule (forthcoming), respectively.)

As news of this spreading consensus among the world's top fog mathematicians has been picked up by the media, an intense search has been set in motion to track down the reclusive Russian mathematician, but so far to no avail. Speculation in news rooms, intelligence agencies, and OTB parlors around the world is rife that Perelman is hiding from, or perhaps has already been kidnapped or killed by, the forces that would exploit his proof for their nefarious schemes.

Anyone who can provide information as to the whereabouts of Perelman should telephone the White House immediately and ask for Karl.

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