At Leningrad University, which Perelman entered in 1982, at the age of sixteen, he took advanced classes in geometry and solved a problem posed by Yuri Burago, a mathematician at the Steklov Institute, who later became his Ph.D. adviser. “There are a lot of students of high ability who speak before thinking,” Burago said. “Grisha was different. He thought deeply. His answers were always correct. He always checked very, very carefully.” Burago added, “He was not fast. Speed means nothing. Math doesn’t depend on speed. It is about deep.”
Perelman has moral principles to which he holds. And this surprises people. They often say he acts strangely because he acts honestly, in a nonconformist manner, which is unpopular in this community - even though it should be the norm.
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