The Poincaré conjecture is one of the millennium problems which have been solved by the famous mathematician Grigori Perelman . As per I know he worked on the problem in isolation for 8 years. I wanted to know from where did Perelman got the study materials and other necessary theory needed to prove the conjectures as he was not connected to any university or institution. So from where did he get the work of Richard Hamilton and all the other advanced knowledge which a can only be gathered from college and money paid journals . Thank you.

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    $\begingroup$ There are libraries in Saint Petersburg, Russia, you know (and pretty good ones as far as I could judge). And he was not isolated from the rest of mathematics community there when working on Poincare, quite the contrary. The complete isolation came afterwards when he quarreled with a few people (Perelman's moral standards have always been somewhat incompatible with this world; it doesn't mean they were worse or better than those of others, just incompatible) and that finally led to that unfortunate separation :-(. $\endgroup$
    – fedja
    Commented Jan 6 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ @fedja do you know any mathematical libraries that are accessible to common people for free in the online? $\endgroup$
    – Sillyasker
    Commented Jan 6 at 19:38
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure about official online accessible libraries. Have to check. But you can always go and sit there reading and making notes in any country I've been to so far, nobody will stop you. The rules for getting and maintaining the checkout privileges might vary from place to place. And there are plenty of good "pirate" ones the copyright fanatics had not been able to put their hands on yet, you know (though many of them require registration nowadays). $\endgroup$
    – fedja
    Commented Jan 6 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ A similar question whose answer is mysterious based on the available evidence is: how did George Green acquire the background necessary to write his first short book on electricity and magnetism? (mathshistory.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Green) $\endgroup$
    – Dan Fox
    Commented Jan 11 at 10:22
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    $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because it is not about mathematics education. It is about the education of a specific person, so really closer to history. Moreover the premise is just wrong, as Perelman was a well known expert in differential geometry with a conventional rigorous education. $\endgroup$
    – Dan Fox
    Commented Jan 24 at 11:07

1 Answer 1


Perelman had a conventional academic education through and well past his Ph.D., albeit in Russia. He was exposed to and was a part of the mainstream of research mathematics. He was not a Ramanujan, with very limited exposure to hard core math research.

Note, that all of this, you could have easily learned by reading the "Early Life and Education" section of the Wikipedia article on Perelman. If you want to go out and make some amazing discoveries, you will need to learn the resourcefulness to at least (!) Google. Not just dream about things and ask questions on forums.


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