The Clay Mathematics Institute (Massachusetts, USA) is set to hand Grigory Perelman the Millennium Prize for his solution to the Poincaré conjecture. The Prize is reportedly $1 million.
James Carlson, President of CMI, said today: "The resolution of the Poincaré conjecture by Grigory Perelman brings to a close the century-long quest for the solution. It is a major advance in the history of mathematics that will long be remembered. Mathematics has been deeply enriched."
But it's unclear whether Perelman - ranked ninth on a list of greatest living geniuses in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper - will accept the prize.
He turned down the Fields Medal, known as the "Nobel Prize for mathematics" in 2006, and lives a reclusive life with his mother in St. Petersburg, refusing to speak publically or give interviews.
The Poincaré conjecture is one of the seven most difficult and important tasks for the mathematicians identified by the Institute at the turn of the millennium.
The conjecture was proposed by the French mathematician Henri Poincaré in 1904 and is fundamental to achieving an understanding of three-dimensional shapes.
Poincaré's test was designed to prove that a three-dimensional manifold is a finite space, like a sphere. Perelman provided proof of the Frenchman's theory, which was confirmed by other mathematicians in 2006.
The remaining six millennium tasks remain unsolved.