I concur with Science’s tapping of the solving of the Poincaré conjecture as the scientific breakthrough of the year. I was fascinated to follow the story of Grigori Perelman in the NY Times. His dedication to the pure science rather than the spotlight makes him a hero in my book. I was saddened to read in the controversial New Yorker Magazine article that he was “retiring from mathematics, disenchanted by unspecified lapses in ‘ethical standards’ by colleagues.” The scientific community cannot afford to lose colleagues such as this.
I highly recommend a listen to the excellent reporting by NPR’s David Kestenbaum on Solving an Old Math Problem Nets Award, Trouble.