Introduction & Statement of Poincaré Conjecture
In 1904, the french Mathematician Henri Poincaré posed an epoch making question in one of his papers, which asked:
The statement can be explained by considering the analogous two dimensional situation.
Let us think of a rubber band stretched around the spherical surface of an apple (or any other spherical body like ball) . It is easily seen that it can be shrunk to a point by moving it slowly, without tearing it and without allowing it to leave the surface. [for illustrations Watch these videos on youtube.]
On the other hand, let up take a doughnut, which is torus. The band can’t be shrunk in any way to a point without tearing it or the doughnut.
It can be stated mathematically that
the apple/ball is “simply connected”, whereas, the doughnut is not.
In order to characterize the spherical surface of the apple/ball, we can imagine a two dimensional disc lying in a three dimensional plane with its boundary lifted up and tied to a single point in both sides of the plane.
In logical words, it can be said that all the points are identified to a single point [in apple/ball].
Therefore, Poincaré Asked,
If a two dimensional sphere is characterized by the property of simple connectivity, a similar characterstic is valid for all closed three – dimensional objects, embedded in a four- dimensional spaces, (and) which are like three dimensional spheres.
Watch these youtube Videos for a clear illustration:
Although analogous results were found to be true at higher dimensions (>3D) in case of three dimensional sphere had been proving to be the hardest. That’s why the question had been viewed as extraordinarily difficult and for long, mathematicians were struggling to find an answer to it. Even Poincaré himself pondered over the problem. Of course, these led to the creation of new vistas in mathematics and many new theorems and problems related to it solved. But Poincaré Conjecture still remained unsolved. This was named as one of the Millennium Prize Problems by Clay Mathematical Institute. At last in 2002-03, Grigori Perelman succeeded in finding a solution based on the theory of Ricci Flow.
- The Poincare Conjecture (blogs.forbes.com)
- Physicists grow pleats in two-dimensional curved spaces (ramanan50.wordpress.com)
- 2011 preview: Million-dollar mathematics problem (newscientist.com)
- Examples of Specht Modules (unapologetic.wordpress.com)
- Scientific arbitrage (sciencehouse.wordpress.com)