Part of the culture of mathematics is to create a list of important mathematics problems and offer a reward for solving them. The Clay Mathematics Institute is currently offer $1,000,000 to anyone who can solve one of seven problems. Grigori Perelman famously solved one of the problems: the Poincaré Conjecture (he also famously declined the million dollars).
A second paper has been submitted; this time, a proposed solution to the “P vs. NP” problem. If true, Vinay Deolalikar will be awarded $1,000,000.
This will not be sorted out for several months (at least), but people generally seem to agree that he has a chance (i.e. he is not a crank). Still, there is quite a bit of skepticism. Several experts have concerns about aspects of the proof, although they are not certain that any actual errors exist. Plus, Scott Aaronson has wagered $200,000 of his own money that an error will be found in the proof.
Even if Deolalikar has a correct proof, there would still be $5 million left (five questions at $1 million per question) in prize money. You should probably start working now.