I still remember reading for the first time about Grisha Perelman’s solution to the Poincaré Conjecture on Slashdot back in 2004. I knew nothing about the Poincaré Conjecture other than it was famous—one of those big question marks in mathematics like Fermat’s Last Theorem—and therefore big news.

What generated even more press than the solution to the math itself—which, by most journalistic standards, is a dead end—is the fact that the genius behind the proof is a very odd duck indeed. By the time this review is posted, Grigori “Grisha” Perelman has become a near-total recluse at his apartment in St. Petersberg, Russa, which he shares with his mother. He doesn’t talk to anyone—even his old friends—and has claimed to have left the field of mathematics entirely.