one of the greatest mathematicians of our era, and - as a reader wrote, a towering figure of mathematics - has started the legal process against the immoral journalists who have defamed him and a large portion of the whole field of mathematics - and exact sciences in general - in the August 28th, 2006 issue of the New Yorker. I have just read the
sent to the main authors of that piece of vicious propaganda based on a clear agenda, and even though I don't necessarily think that Prof. Yau is a new Jesus Christ (sorry!), he is clearly a stellar scholar who has dedicated most of his life to mathematics and his and his legal team's complaints seem to be 100% right on the money. Many of these complaints are explicitly proven and it is rather hard to imagine a judge who could deny that Yau's team is right: but crazier things have happened and I am no lawyer.
The amount of deliberate mystifications, neglected facts, distortions, and outright lies in that article seems to be just far too high to be forgiven.
What I will say now are arguably objective facts about the famous mathematician and more or less everyone who knows what's going on would agree, despite all of our differences about non-mathematical issues you can think of: differences in political opinion, nationalities, fields, and temperaments. Originally, I was informed about the New Yorker article by another scientist who is fully supporting Prof. Yau in this dispute, and others who have any opinion are on the same side.
Yau continues to be one of the most active mathematicians, an inspiration for his younger colleagues and students, an important link between mathematics and theoretical physics, and, incidentally, also a co-author of many important ideas behind the proof of Poincaré's conjecture and a frequent visitor of physics seminars.
You know that your humble correspondent has some kind of strange respect for Perelman's craziness and his isolation from the real world. Perelman's proof is brilliant, mathematicians seem to agree. But still, his overall contributions to mathematics simply can't match Yau's contributions.
Prof. Yau also fights against corruption and other obviously dishonest tendencies in the Chinese universities that often "employ" many leading foreign scholars who nevertheless remain outside China.
The New Yorker article was a brutally dishonest sequence of misleading statements and lies that painted a very different picture and I secretly hope that it was the last public writing about science that its authors and "fact-checkers" will ever be able to write down because the quality of that writing resembled the style and ethical standards of many despicable writers in the blogosphere, including a colleague of Sylvia Nasar at Columbia University, which does not seem good enough for a journal that is read, directly or indirectly, by hundreds of thousands of people.
A collaborator of Shing-Tung Yau just informs me that he or she hopes that by next week, the full power of Yau's brain will again be available to mathematics because they're removing some last discrepancy in an analysis of moduli fields. ;-)
- Support for S.-T. Yau (blog)