Huuuuuge piles of cash

As widely reported today, the first of the “Breakthrough” prizes in mathematics have been announced. Leaving aside the question as to whether such awards are sensible (Persiflage is more sympathetic to capitalist principles than your average pinko marxist mathematician), I think we should all be happy that the inaugural awardees are beyond reproach, something which could not have been taken for granted. So well done to whoever was on the prize committee.

Of the awardees that I know personally, my impression is that, at least in part, they would feel mildly embarrassed by the large amount of cash involved, even if they (presumably) feel gratified by the deserved acknowledgement of their contributions to mathematics. I do hear, however, that a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem 1967 does wonders to wash away any last remaining vestiges of embarrassment, and I am more than willing to help out with the consumption of said beverage if required.

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4 Responses to Huuuuuge piles of cash

  1. Dear GR,

    The list of awardees was really great, as would be 1967 Chateau d’Yquem.
    When I reflect on the fact that I taught one of them when he was a freshman,
    though, it makes me feel old. (Of course, TT is also younger than me, but
    he’s always been mathematically ahead of me, so it doesn’t feel quite the
    same.)

    Cheers,

    Matt

  2. plm says:

    Frankly I find the price of said wine much sillier than large prizes for hard-working mathematicians.

    I am lucky to have tasted 2 375ml chateau d’Yquem 2001 -I live in Bordeaux. And even as a wine and spirit amateur, I can’t see having so much pleasure drinking them to make me forget anything. (Cheap high proof spirit will work better but that’s not what you meant.)

    More seriously I think there is a big issue with how deep, far-reaching research is rewarded by society. I do not know whether big prizes are the answer but

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