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K.Chandrasekharan Biography

An extraordinarily talented organizer and administrator of science, K.Chandrasekharan the famous scientist was born on 21 November 1920 in Machilipatnam in modern-day Andhra Pradesh. He worked in the fields of number theory and summability and he was a successful editor of the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society.

Komaravolu Chandrasekharan did his schooling from Bapatla in Guntur. Then he passed his Masters in Mathematics from the Presidency College, Chennai and was a Research Scholar in the Department of Mathematics of the University of Madras from 1940 to 1943. The very same year he joined the Presidency College as a part-time Lecturer and obtained his Ph.D. during this time under Ananda Rau, who was with Ramanujan in Cambridge.

Chandrasekharan went to the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, U.S.A. and it was during his stay in Princeton that he was invited by Homi Bhabha to join the School of Mathematics of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research ( TIFR). He worked hard to make the School of Mathematics of TIFR into a centre of excellence recognized world-wide. He established a successful method of recruiting and training of Research Scholars at TIFR. It still continues to be the same. Chandrasekharan put to use his contacts with the leading mathematicians of the world, persuading many of them) to visit TIFR and deliver courses of lectures over periods of two months and more. Some of them are L. Schwartz, a Fields medalist, and C.L. Siegel.

Among the numerous achievements of K.Chandrasekharan, the most significant ones are:

  • Member of the Executive Committee of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), (1955-61)
  • Served as the Secretary of IMU (1961-66)
  • Served as the President of IMU (1971-74).
  • Served as the Vice President of the International Council of Scientific Unions(1963-66)
  • Has been the Secretary General during 1966-70.
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet, Government of India (1961-66).
  • Awarded the Padma Shri in 1959
  • The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in 1963 and
  • The Ramanujan Medal in 1966.

His contribution to Indian mathematics is worth remembering.