Sunday, Dec 21, 2003
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By G. Srinivasan
The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam receives a veena at the international conference of mathematicians at the Srinivasa Ramanujan Centre in Kumbakonam on Saturday. With him (from the left) are the Dean of the SASTRA Deemed University, Vaidhya Subramanian, the Tamil Nadu Minister for Environment and Forests, R. Vaithiyalingam, and the Vice-Chancellor of SASTRA, R. Sethuraman.
Everybody talked of the nation's strides in information technology, space, defence, agriculture and academic institutions, but the importance of mathematics was yet to be fully recognised. It was becoming even more difficult to get bright students to take to Mathematics the purest of the sciences as a career when they were young. This, in the next few years, would stifle innovations and make the role of science and technology in social transformation a saturated ground, Mr. Kalam said.
He was dedicating the Srinivasa Ramanujan Centre of the Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology and Research Academy (SASTRA), Deemed University, here to the nation. He also inaugurated an international conference on Number Theory for secure communications at the centre.
"Can we launch a national mission to generate mathematicians in large numbers and also create suitable employment potential for them so that we will enrich our scientific work and our nation which had a tradition of mathematics right from Aryabhatta?" the President asked.
This was eminently possible since India for several centuries had been home to some of the best talents in mathematics a tradition that should be nurtured for the world to benefit.
Describing Ramanujan as a continuing source of inspiration and a "genius well ahead of his time," the President said that Ramanujan lived only for 33 years. He had no formal higher education yet his inexhaustible spirit and love for his subject made him contribute to the treasure houses of mathematical research some of which were still under serious study. Ramanujan was a unique Indian genius who could melt the heart of the most hardened and outstanding Cambridge mathematician, Prof. G.H. Hardy.
"In fact it is not an exaggeration to say that it was Prof. Hardy who discovered Ramanujan for the world. Professor Hardy had rated various geniuses on a scale of 100. While most of the mathematicians got a rating of around 30 with rare exceptions reaching 60, Ramanujan got a rating of 100. There cannot be any better tribute to either Ramanujan or to Indian heritage," Mr. Kalam said.
One of the important applications of the number theory is in designing error-correcting codes, which are robust against noise introduced in communication channels. Engineers have recently come to the conclusion that if one has to analyse noise signals, an efficient mathematical tool would be the Ramanujan Fourier Transformation or in short RFT.
This demonstrates that though Ramanujan did the work on RFT purely to satisfy his urge and explore the beauty of mathematics it had come to have use in day-to-day applications such as communications almost six decades later.
The President said that there were many students with talent in mathematics like Ramanujan. Mention could be made about two child prodigies Lovligen from a remote area of Kerala and Subramanyam Chandrasekar. Chandrasekar of Thangaraj Engineering College, Srivilliputhur, proved to be the world's youngest Microsoft engineer.The President suggested an action plan to implement a national mission for nurturing mathematics. These include formation of a Ramanujan foundation with a corpus amount of Rs. 100 crores. The foundation should conduct biannual international meets on the advancement of mathematics and also spot young talent to encourage them to pursue mathematics. Organisations such as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research might set apart a certain fund annually on a long-term basis for promising young mathematicians to pursue their studies at a place of their choice.
"Create a mechanism to locate and tap the best minds from rural areas which are gold mines of hidden talents and institute young mathematician awards of Rs. 10 lakhs to be given every year to the best young mathematician below 35 years for path-breaking contribution in mathematics," he said.
A chair in the name of Ramanujan for research in mathematics was created at the centre with a corpus fund of Rs. 10 lakhs given by the City Union Bank Ltd.The cheque was handed over to Prof. R. Sethuraman, Vice-Chancellor, SASTRA, by the bank's chairman, V. Narayanan, at the function.Earlier, the President visited the house of Srinivasa Ramanujan at Kumbakonam, which had been converted into a monument.
R. Vaidyalingam, State Minister for Environment and Forests, participated in the function. V.S.Ramamurthy, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, V.N. Rajasekaran Pillai, Vice-Chairman, University Grants Commission, and Dr. M.S. Vijayaraghavan, Executive Director of the Society for Electronics Transaction Security, spoke.Prof. R. Sethuraman, Vice-Chancellor SASTRA, welcomed the gathering and Prof. K.G. Seshadri proposed a vote of thanks.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of