Source: Rajasthan Patrika-Pariwar Magazine (05-Sept-2018)

Meet the Mathematicians

Shakuntala Devi (4 November 1929 – 21 April 2013) was an Indian writer and mental calculator, popularly known as the “human computer”. Her talent earned her a place in the 1982 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records.

Shakuntala Devi was born in Bangalore, Madras province, British India,to an orthodox Brahmin family.

At the age of six, she demonstrated her arithmetic abilities at the University of Mysore.

In 1944, Shakuntala Devi moved to London with her father.

As a writer, Shakuntala Devi wrote a number of books, including novels as well as texts about mathematics, puzzles, and astrology. She wrote the book, The World of Homosexuals, which is considered the first study of homosexuality in India. She treated homosexuality in an understanding light and is considered a pioneer in the field.

Shakuntala Devi travelled the world demonstrating her arithmetic talents, including a tour of Europe in 1950 and a performance in New York City in 1976.[2] In 1988, she travelled to the US to have her abilities studied by Arthur Jensen, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Jensen tested her performance of several tasks, including the calculation of large numbers.

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Chakravarthi Padmanabhan Ramanujam (9 January 1938 – 27 October 1974) was an Indian mathematician who worked in the fields of number theory and algebraic geometry. He was elected a fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 1973.As David Mumford put it, Ramanujam felt that the spirit of mathematics demanded of him not merely routine developments but the right theorem on any given topic. “He wanted mathematics to be beautiful and to be clear and simple. He was sometimes tormented by the difficulty of these high standards, but in retrospect, it is clear to us how often he succeeded in adding to our knowledge, results both new, beautiful and with a genuinely original stamp”.

He wanted to specialise in mathematics and he set out to master it with vigour and passion. He also enjoyed music and his favourite musician was Dr. M. D. Ramanathan, a maverick concert musician. His teacher and friend at this time was Father Racine, a missionary who had obtained his doctorate under the supervision of Élie Cartan. With Father Racine’s encouragement and recommendation, Ramanujam applied and was admitted to the graduate school at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bombay.

Ramanujam set out for Mumbai at the age of eighteen to pursue his interest in mathematics. He and his friend and schoolmate Raghavan Narasimhan, and S. Ramanan joined TIFR together in 1957. At the Tata Institute there was a stream of first-rate visiting mathematicians from all over the world. It was a tradition for some graduate student to write up the notes of each course of lectures.

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Dattathreya Ramchandra Kaprekar (1905–1986) was an Indian recreational mathematician who described several classes of natural numbers including the Kaprekar, Harshad and Self numbers and discovered the Kaprekar constant, named after him.

Kaprekar received his secondary school education in Thane and studied at Fergusson College in Pune. In 1927 he won the Wrangler R. P. Paranjpe Mathematical Prize for an original piece of work in mathematics.

He attended the University of Mumbai, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1929. Having never received any formal postgraduate training, for his entire career (1930–1962) he was a schoolteacher at Nashik in Maharashtra, India. He published extensively, writing about such topics as recurring decimals, magic squares, and integers with special properties. He is also known as “Ganitanand”

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Narendra Krishna Karmarkar (born 1957) is an Indian mathematician, who developed Karmarkar’s algorithm. He is listed as an ISI highly cited researcher.

Karmarkar received his B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Bombay in 1978, M.S. from the California Institute of Technology in 1979, and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1983 under the supervision of Richard M. Karp.

He invented the first provably polynomial time algorithm for linear programming also known as the interior point method. The algorithm is a cornerstone in the field of Linear Programming. He published his famous result in 1984 while he was working for Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. Karmarkar was a professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai from 1998 to 2005. He was briefly the scientific advisor to the chairman of the TATA group. He is currently working on a new architecture for supercomputing.

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