Rumor has it that Harvard Professor, Chinese-American mathematician Shing-Tung Yau, is being ridiculed by New Yorker's reporter SYLVIA NASAR AND DAVID GRUBER in their essay "MANIFOLD DESTINY" on the controversials surrounding meta-proof of who owns what credit for the 'pieceful' competition of getting crowned for " A Complete Proof of the Poincaré and Geometrization Conjectures: Application of the Hamilton-Perelman Theory of the Ricci Flow."
Little did Western world care about Yao's personal crusade waged against his former student, now an adjunt Prof. of Beijing Univ. and full Prof. of a US Univ.:
Yau called Tian "a complete mess." He accused him of holding multiple professorships and of collecting a hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars for a few months' work at a Chinese university, while students were living on a hundred dollars a month. He also charged Tian with shoddy scholarship and plagiarism, and with intimidating his graduate students into letting him add his name to their papers. "Since I promoted him all the way to his academic fame today, I should also take responsibility for his improper behavior," Yau was quoted as saying to a reporter, explaining why he felt obliged to speak out.
I wish not to pretend that i can judge mathemtacial beauty of right and wrong proofs although in my school years, we did not lack any exemplanery model of Chinese version of scientific glorification: Chen Jingrun's proof of Goldbach's conjecture. What i find interesting is now that Yau, in place of Chairman Mao, seems to wish a kind of proof, not for proof's own sake but for establishing a saving power for a whole nation on a scientific theory that they themselves firmly believed while individual, not like Yau and Mao, but like Grigori Perelman working alone and aloof with another set of believers and defenders by his side.
I recall reading many books on Andrew Wiles' proof of Fermat's theorem a couple of years ago. It never occured to any one that a maths proof can split the world into UK vs. US vs. Japan back then.
And my conclusion to Chinese interested party is:
The fact is that there is always going to be more ignorant Chinese than the faithful of all nations.
And to all other interested party, the same fact still stands.
Yet the right arguments lie not in the proof and proofs following proofs but what conjectures remained hidden through ice age and global warming?
I once seriously constructed one conjecture on my own. (Original or not, i have no way of knowing). Yet i haven't found Western scientific language to express it. All i can do is a few sketches and a few emails to non-believers. It is about constructing a mathematical solution for the ancient game: the game of go or 围棋. I firmly believe that there is a determinable 'best' move given computational limits ( of both human and artificial means...). Up to now, the best move can only exist in human minds. No computational device EVER reached the depth of calculation done by professional players
A Russian Chess Master once said:
"Chess is to GO what double entry accounting is to philosophy'. I realize that in materializing this conjecture, the very foundation of parallel computing and the design of computing language is going to be challenged. So far, the spirit embodied in Charles Moore's Forth language fits into my paradigm of the futuristic proof.
I also lay my hope of discovering new fields of research on great minds like Terence Tao who has just received Fields award in August 2006 at the age of 31, a second ethnic Chinese after Shing-Tung Yau and first Australian ever being awarded the most prestigous award in the maths world. Last but not the least, I lay my hope of going back to where we come from, of discovering old passion and love on great men like the Russian 'late' mathematician Grigori Perelman who declined the ceremonial awards for no reasons but the love of a freedom that alludes all reasons.
Is it accidental that I believe Father Ricci invented Confucius? And from it, the Ricci flow flourished back into Chinese minds.
In English, this essay is entitled "Did Confucius have much to do with ...a modern retribution by the West?"
Charlotte Allen knows the score.
One Chinese columnist wrote "Father Ricci 抄之过急 "
The Holy See did not touch on the purely theoretical questions, as for instance what the Chinese rites were and signified according to their institution and in ancient times. In this Father Ricci may have been right; but he was mistaken in thinking that as practised in modern times they are not superstitious or can be made free from all superstition. The popes declared, after scrupulous investigations, that the ceremonies in honour of Confucius or ancestors and deceased relatives are tainted with superstition to such a degree that they cannot be purified. But the error of Ricci, as of his fellow-workers and successors, was but an error in judgment. The Holy See expressly forbade it to be said that they approved of idolatry; it would indeed be an odious calumny to accuse such a man as Ricci, and so many other holy and zealous missionaries, of having approved and permitted their neophytes practices which they knew to be superstitions and contrary to the purity of religion. Despite this error, Matto Ricci remains a splendid type of missionary and founder, unsurpassed for his zealous intrepidity, the intelligence of the methods applied to each situation, and the unwearying tenacity with which he pursued the projects he undertook. To him belongs the glory not only of opening up a vast empire to the Gospel, but of simultaneously making the first breach in that distrust of strangers which excluded China from the general progress of the world. The establishment of the Catholic mission in the heart of this country also had its economic consequences: it laid the foundation of a better understanding between the Far East and the West, which grew with the progress of the mission. It is superfluous to detail the results from the standpoint of the material interests of the whole world. Lastly, science owes to Father Ricci the first exact scientific knowledge received in Europe concerning China, its true geographical situation, its ancient civilization, its vast and curious literature, its social organization so different from what existed elsewhere. The method instituted by Ricci necessitated a fundamental study of this new world, and if the missionaries who have since followed him have rendered scarcely less service to science than to religion, a great part of the credit is due to Ricci.
My conclusion in Classic Chinese spake as such:
偶以为，如果人类社会 是自然产生之物，其等 级之分盖以非自然为善 。
后人批孔，多不得其真 谛。西方社会逾趋于非 自然结构，孔子的父尊 与母爱才成为于非自然 结构对敌的古老而崇高 的反抗。
my best bet of A close-up translation goes to:
Monty Python's classic International Philosophy football match, Greeks vs. the Germans, cordially provided by comicvariance Carroll