Anorak News | Not For Doughnuts

Not For Doughnuts

by | 7th, September 2004

‘FOR those of you who struggle with the Anorak Friday news quiz, here’s a poser: ‘The surface of an apple is simply connected. But the surface of a doughnut is not.’

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At this point, we advise all but Russian Grigiri Perelman, who is said to have solved this abstruse puzzle, to be called away to an urgent phone call and so avoid hearing the rest of the question and made to feel like said doughnut – unconnected or otherwise.

To the Russian still looking in, here’s the rest: ‘How do you start from the idea of simple connectivity and characterise space in three dimensions?’

For an added clue, the poser is called the PoincarĂ© Conjecture and, says the Times, is one of the Clay Mathematics Institute’s seven great millennial mysteries of maths, each of which carries a $1m reward for the solving.

The only thing is that Perelman shows no sign of publishing his proof in a book or article – which he needs to do to claim the dough – and won’t talk to the media, preferring to dribble out his findings over the internet.

Which means that, as it stands today, the problem with no firm answer cannot form part of next year’s GCSE in maths.

And neither will the other six bafflers, with such grandiose names as the Birch Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture, the Navier-Stokes Equation and the Yang-Mills and Mass Gap.

But these are mere calculations to work out on the back of a fag packet when compared to Anorak’s seven mind-boggling pillars of wisdom.

Questions like: Why aren’t Cliff Richard and Tony Blair ever seen in the same place at the same time? Will Wayne Rooney marry his Coleen? And can Anthea Turner ever make it back to our screens?’

Posted: 7th, September 2004 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink