(JTA) — A reclusive Russian Jewish mathematician turned down a $1 million prize for solving a seemingly unsolvable math problem.
Grigory “Grisha” Perelman told the Russian Interfax news agency on July 1 that he had turned down the prize for solving the Poincare conjecture from the Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Mass. because he disagreed with the organized mathematics community and believed that an American mathematician had contributed to solving the problem.
Prof. Robert (Yisrael) Aumann, the 2005 Nobel Prize winner in economics for his work on "game theory" analysis (see his excellent accceptance speech here), was born in Germany only to have emigrated two weeks before Kristallnacht. He has often applied game theory to the Israel-Arab conflict, exploring the reasons why Israel seems to be negotiating its surrender rather than a serious and lasting peace.
Scholars beginning to challenge view that the rise of democratic values belongs solely to Western secular thought.
When the Texas Board of Education voted last month in favor of a proposal that would emphasize the religious origins of democracy in high school curricula, many liberals were outraged. It seemed to fly in the face of the long-held assumption that Western political ideas — toleration, the separation of church and state, indeed the genius of democratic rule itself — was born from the steady secularization of the West. It was the age of the Enlightenment, after all, that produced America’s great experiment in democracy.
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