Category Archives: mathematicians

Cathleen Morawetz, mathematician with real-world impact, dies at 94

It reminds of the “unreasonable ineffectiveness of mathematics” as explained by Eugene Wigner long back ! This in itself is a strong motivation to learn math!!

With snow flakes and unicorns, explore a universe in motion : Marina Ratner and Maryam Mirzakhani

Maryam Mirzakhani — in her own words

Inspirational …motivational…”woman” of mathematics…the other woman coming to my mind is, Dr. Ingrid Daubechies…

You may not be a wunderkind …but if…

It is said that math is a young man’s game (or, a young woman’s game!), but let us look at the motivational example of Marina Ratner:

Maryam Mirzakhani: Woman of Mathematics, Fields Medallist passes away at 40

It is said that one of the best sources of inspiration about mathematics and “men” of mathematics is the book, “Menn of Mathematics” by E. T. Bell. (John Nash, Jr., Nobel laureate, Abel Laureate, genius mathematician, who passed away some time back, had also read this classic as a young boy. You might have known him through the movie, A Beautiful Mind starring Russell Crowe). But, there have also been “really rare” “women of mathematics” like Emmy Noether (who had passed away unsung, unheard; she also passed away due to some cancer), and just recently, eminent mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, of Iranian origin, Fields Medallist, and professor at Stanford University, has also passed away at a young age of 40 due to cancer. It is said that mathematicians are loners; but she proved it otherwise: she was a professor, a wife, a mother also…

I wish someone writes a classic called “Women of Mathematics” also just like long back E. T. Bell wrote the classic, “Men of Mathematics”.

Below is an obit on Maryam Mirzakhani in The Times of India online:

Nalin Pithwa.

Who wants to be a mathematician

I wish that there were official programmes like the following in India too:

Genius of Srinivasa Ramanujan

  1. In December 1914, Ramanujan was asked by his friend P.C. Mahalanobis to solve a puzzle that appeared in Strand magazine as “Puzzles at a Village Inn”. The puzzle stated that n houses on one side of the street are numbered sequentially starting from 1. The sum of the house numbers on the left of a particular house having the number m, equals that of the houses on the right of this particular house. It is given that n lies between 50 and 500 and one has to determine the values of m and n. Ramanujan immediately rattled out a continued fraction generating all possible values of m without having any restriction on the values of n. List the first five values of m and n.
  2. Ramanujan had posed the following problem in a journal: \sqrt{1+2\sqrt{1+3\sqrt{\ldots}}}=x, find x. Without receiving an answer from the readers, after three months he gave answer as 3. This he could say because he had an earlier general result stating 1+x=\sqrt{1+x\sqrt{1+(x+1)\sqrt{1+(x+2)\sqrt{1+\ldots}}}} is true for all x. Prove this result, then x=2 will give the answer to Ramanujan’s problem.

Try try until you succeed!!

Nalin Pithwa.

Women in mathematics

Happy International Women’s Day. I would like to re-blog the following :

The Porter Lecture — Interview with Prof. Erik Demaine

Education gives strength: Anand Kumar tells Maoist youngsters

I reproduce this highly inspirational news from The DNA, Mumbai, Thursday, February 23, 2017: 

Raipur: Super 30 founder Anand Kumar has exhorted the youth in Maoist areas to shun the gun and embrace pen to script a new tale of peace and prosperity through real empowerment which, he believes, only education can ensure.

Kumar was addressing students at the education city in Jawanga village of Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Dantewada district at a programme on Tuesday.

State Chief Minister Raman Singh and Rajya Sabha MP Dr. Subhash Chandra were also present on the occasion.

Stressing that education was the only way to bridge the gap in the society, Kumar said, “Education can lend you strength in the real sense. It can bring about generational change.”

Technology should also be increasingly used to make quality education accessible to all, which is another prerequisite for an egalitarian society and tackling poverty effectively said Kumar, who runs a residential and free-of-cost “Super 30” programme for the last 15 years for talented students from the underprivileged sections.

Narrating his “Super 30” experience, he  gave examples of students from the most underprivileged sections and how they reached the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) through their hard work.

“All the problems in the world originate basically because of four-five reasons, like illiteracy, ignorance, poverty, lack of opportunities, unemployment, mindless violence etc. And, if we look at them closely, all have their genesis in lack of education. It is the lack of education that breeds inferiority complex and later manifests itself in different ways,” Kumar said.

Chief Minister asked the students to set a goal in their life and work hard with honesty to achieve it.

“Bastar is changing rapidly. The students (of education city) will play a key role in the development of Bastar. The day when maximum students of Bastar will sit on higher administration posts, that day will be memorable for me,” he said.

“With the efforts of the government, several children of Bastar have qualified for IIT, engineering and medical colleges. These children are not only future of Chattisgarh but the country too,” he said.

The Chief Minister also released Halbi-Gondi-English dictionary for students. –PTI.

Hats off to Mr. Anand Kumar and his “Super 30”!

From Nalin Pithwa