Mathematician Dr. Grigory Perelman has turned down the $1 million prize offered by the U.S. Clay Mathematics Institute to those who successfully solve some of the greatest mysteries in mathematics. In this case, Dr. Perelman solved what is called the Poincaré Conjecture. Earlier for this same accomplishment, he was awarded the prestigious Fields Medal in 2006, which he also turned down.
I know that “Poincaré Conjecture” sounds like just another obscure mathematical idea (and if you read about it, you might understandably continue to think so), but solving it is a big deal. The conjecture had gone unproven for more than 100 years, the journal Science declared its proof to be the scientific “Breakthrough of the Year” (according to Wikipedia, the first time that honor had been given to a work of mathematics).
You can read about it here at the UK’s Mail Online: “World’s cleverest man turns down $1 million prize after solving one of mathematics’ greatest puzzles”
The article has a nice video explaining the Poincaré Conjecture as well as discussing the “man of mystery” who solved it. It mentions that the year Dr. Perelman turned down the Fields Medal, he said, “I don’t want to be on display like an animal in a zoo.” Ironically, his refusing of the prizes has probably made him more of a subject of interest than he would have been had he accepted them.