The most significant scientific achievement of 2006 was, according to the issue of *Science* magazine that came out today, the solution of a 100-year-old mathematical problem that had baffled some of the best minds of the 20th century. Russian Mathematician Grigory Perelman solved this problem in a series of papers he circulated in 2003, and this year the mathematical community officially recognized his solution by offering him the Fields Medal, the most important prize in mathematics.

The PoincarĂ© conjecture, as the problem is known, belongs to the field of math called topology. But the methods that led to Perelman’s proof took hints from the physical world, and may have implications for research in theoretical physics, experts say.

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