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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Russian Math, the Poincare Conjecture and Perelman

Russian Math, the Poincare Conjecture and Perelman - WSJ.com: "Three weeks after Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Soviet air force had been bombed out of existence. The Russian military set about retrofitting civilian airplanes for use as bombers. The problem was, the civilian airplanes were much slower than the military ones, rendering moot everything the military knew about aim.

What was needed was a small army of mathematicians to recalculate speeds and distances to let the air force hit its targets.

The greatest Russian mathematician of the 20th century, Andrei Kolmogorov, led a classroom of students, armed with adding machines, in recalculating the Red Army's bombing and artillery tables. Then he set about creating a new system of statistical control and prediction for the Soviet military."

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