Chinese mathematicians solve global puzzle

BEIJING, June 3 (Xinhua) — Two Chinese mathematicians have put the final pieces together in the solution to a puzzle that has perplexed scientists around the globe for more than a century.

Professor Cao Huaidong, of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, and Professor Zhu Xiping, of Zhongshan (Sun Yat-sen) University in south China’s Guangdong Province, co-authored the paper, A Complete Proof of the Poincar and Geometrization Conjectures – application of the Hamilton-Perelman theory of the Ricci flow, published in the June issue of the US-based Asian Journal of Mathematics.

The paper provided complete proof of the Poincar Conjecture promulgated by Frenchman Henri Poincar in 1904.

“These findings will help scientists to further understand three-dimensional space and heavily influence the development of physics and engineering,” said Professor Shing-Tung Yau, a mathematician at Harvard University and one of the editors-in-chief of the journal which published Cao and Zhu’s paper.

“The conjecture is that if in a closed three-dimensional space, any closed curves can shrink to a point continuously, this space can be deformed to a sphere,” explained Yau.

He said the conjecture was rated as one of the major mathematical puzzles of the 20th Century.

By the end of the 1970s, US mathematician William P. Thurston had produced partial proof of Poincar’s Conjecture on geometric structure, and was awarded the Fields Prize for the achievement. Fellow American Richard Hamilton completed the majority of the program and the geometrization conjecture. In 2003, Russian mathematician Grigory Perelman made key new contributions.

Based on those major developments, the 300-page paper by Cao and Zhu provided complete proof, said Yau. “Cao and Zhu put the finishing touches to the complete proof of the Poincar Conjecture, which had puzzled mathematicians around the world,” he said.

About James Ockenden (223 Articles)
A writer covering international energy and power markets since 1996
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