Thursday, September 07, 2006

Another guy Yau !!!

Yau’s family moved to Hong Kong from mainland China in 1949, when he was five months old, along with hundreds of thousands of other refugees fleeing Mao’s armies. The previous year, his father, a relief worker for the United Nations, had lost most of the family’s savings in a series of failed ventures. In Hong Kong, to support his wife and eight children, he tutored college students in classical Chinese literature and philosophy.

When Yau was fourteen, his father died of kidney cancer, leaving his mother dependent on handouts from Christian missionaries and whatever small sums she earned from selling handicrafts. Until then, Yau had been an indifferent student. But he began to devote himself to schoolwork, tutoring other students in math to make money. “Part of the thing that drives Yau is that he sees his own life as being his father’s revenge,” said Dan Stroock, the M.I.T. mathematician, who has known Yau for twenty years. “Yau’s father was like the Talmudist whose children are starving.”

Yau studied math at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he attracted the attention of Shiing-Shen Chern, the preƫminent Chinese mathematician, who helped him win a scholarship to the University of California at Berkeley. Chern was the author of a famous theorem combining topology and geometry. He spent most of his career in the United States, at Berkeley. He made frequent visits to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and, later, China, where he was a revered symbol of Chinese intellectual achievement, to promote the study of math and science.

In 1969, Yau started graduate school at Berkeley, enrolling in seven graduate courses each term and auditing several others. He sent half of his scholarship money back to his mother in China and impressed his professors with his tenacity. He was obliged to share credit for his first major result when he learned that two other mathematicians were working on the same problem. In 1976, he proved a twenty-year-old conjecture pertaining to a type of manifold that is now crucial to string theory. A French mathematician had formulated a proof of the problem, which is known as Calabi’s conjecture, but Yau’s, because it was more general, was more powerful. (Physicists now refer to Calabi-Yau manifolds.) “He was not so much thinking up some original way of looking at a subject but solving extremely hard technical problems that at the time only he could solve, by sheer intellect and force of will,” Phillip Griffiths, a geometer and a former director of the Institute for Advanced Study, said.

In 1980, when Yau was thirty, he became one of the youngest mathematicians ever to be appointed to the permanent faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study, and he began to attract talented students. He won a Fields Medal two years later, the first Chinese ever to do so. By this time, Chern was seventy years old and on the verge of retirement. According to a relative of Chern’s, “Yau decided that he was going to be the next famous Chinese mathematician and that it was time for Chern to step down.”

Fields Medals announced and the also rejected!!!

Terence Tao ,Grigori Grisha Perelman and two more guys ....but not Manjul Bhargava...its OK...there is till time.....
Terence Tao is of Chinese origin and Perelman and one more guy(among the fields winners) are Russians.
The fourth guy is from France.
China has produced two fields Medalists by now.When is an Indian gona get it and make India proud???


Grigory Perelman did not plan to become a mathematician. “There was never a decision point,” he said when we met. We were outside the apartment building where he lives, in Kupchino, a neighborhood of drab high-rises. Perelman’s father, who was an electrical engineer, encouraged his interest in math. “He gave me logical and other math problems to think about,” Perelman said. “He got a lot of books for me to read. He taught me how to play chess. He was proud of me.” Among the books his father gave him was a copy of “Physics for Entertainment,” which had been a best-seller in the Soviet Union in the nineteen-thirties. In the foreword, the book’s author describes the contents as “conundrums, brain-teasers, entertaining anecdotes, and unexpected comparisons,” adding, “I have quoted extensively from Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Mark Twain and other writers, because, besides providing entertainment, the fantastic experiments these writers describe may well serve as instructive illustrations at physics classes.” The book’s topics included how to jump from a moving car, and why, “according to the law of buoyancy, we would never drown in the Dead Sea.”