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Grigory Perelman refuses Fields Medal for Poincare Conjecture proof

PhysOrg wrote:
"I regret that Dr. Perelman has declined to accept the medal," said John Ball, president of the International Mathematical Union, which is holding the convention.

Ball said later that he had met with Perelman in St. Petersburg in June, told him he had won a Fields medal and urged him to accept it. But Perelman said he felt isolated from the mathematics community and refused the medal because "he does not want to be seen as its figurehead," Ball said, without offering further details.

On the other hand, he's practical about the rewards:

PhysOrg wrote:
If his proof stands the test of time, Perelman will win all or part of the $1 million prize money. That prize should be announced in about two years. [...] Ball said he asked Perelman if he would accept that money. Perelman said that if he won, he would talk to the Clay institute.

A matter of integrity?

A little bit more has come out on Perelman's refusal, published in the New Yorker. His disconnect from the mathematical community appears related to his disappointment with publication ethics:

the New Yorker wrote:
Perelman repeatedly said that he had retired from the mathematics community and no longer considered himself a professional mathematician. He mentioned a dispute that he had had years earlier with a collaborator over how to credit the author of a particular proof, and said that he was dismayed by the discipline’s lax ethics. “It is not people who break ethical standards who are regarded as aliens,” he said. “It is people like me who are isolated.” We asked him whether he had read Cao and Zhu’s paper. “It is not clear to me what new contribution did they make,” he said. “Apparently, Zhu did not quite understand the argument and reworked it.” As for Yau, Perelman said, “I can’t say I’m outraged. Other people do worse. Of course, there are many mathematicians who are more or less honest. But almost all of them are conformists. They are more or less honest, but they tolerate those who are not honest.”

The prospect of being awarded a Fields Medal had forced him to make a complete break with his profession. “As long as I was not conspicuous, I had a choice,” Perelman explained. “Either to make some ugly thing”—a fuss about the math community’s lack of integrity—“or, if I didn’t do this kind of thing, to be treated as a pet. Now, when I become a very conspicuous person, I cannot stay a pet and say nothing. That is why I had to quit.” We asked Perelman whether, by refusing the Fields and withdrawing from his profession, he was eliminating any possibility of influencing the discipline. “I am not a politician!” he replied, angrily. Perelman would not say whether his objection to awards extended to the Clay Institute’s million-dollar prize. “I’m not going to decide whether to accept the prize until it is offered,” he said.

The entire thing is worth reading.