Harish-Chandra

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For the character in Hindu mythology, see Harishchandra.
Harish Chandra
Born (1923-10-11)11 October 1923
Kanpur, British India
Died 16 October 1983(1983-10-16) (aged 60)
Princeton, New Jersey, United States
Residence United States
Citizenship United States[1]
Fields Mathematics, Physics
Institutions Indian Institute of Science
Harvard University
Columbia University
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Institute for Advanced Study
Alma mater University of Allahabad
University of Cambridge
Doctoral advisor Paul Dirac
Known for Harish-Chandra's c-function
Harish-Chandra's character formula
Harish-Chandra homomorphism
Harish-Chandra isomorphism
Harish-Chandra module
Harish-Chandra's regularity theorem
Harish-Chandra's Schwartz space
Harish-Chandra transform
Harish-Chandra's Ξ function
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society[2]
Cole Prize
Srinivasa Ramanujan Medal

Harish-Chandra FRS[2] (Harish Chandra Mehrotra[citation needed]; 11 October 1923 – 16 October 1983) was an Indian American mathematician and physicist who did fundamental work in representation theory, especially harmonic analysis on semisimple Lie groups.[3][4][5]

Early life[edit]

Harish-Chandra was born in Kanpur (then Cawnpore), British India. He was educated at B.N.S.D. College, Kanpur, and at the University of Allahabad. After receiving his masters degree in Physics in 1943, he moved to the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore for further studies in theoretical physics and worked with Homi J. Bhabha.

In 1945, he moved to University of Cambridge, Cambridge and worked as a research student under Paul Dirac. While at Cambridge, he attended lectures by Wolfgang Pauli, and during one of them pointed out a mistake in Pauli's work. The two were to become lifelong friends. During this time he became increasingly interested in mathematics. At Cambridge he obtained his PhD in 1947.

When Dirac visited Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, U.S.A. in 1947/48 he brought Harish-Chandra as his assistant. It was at this stage that Harish-Chandra decided to change over from physics to mathematics. He was a faculty member at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey from 1963. From 1968, until his death in 1983, he was IBM von Neumann Professor in the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey. He died of a heart attack while on an evening walk on 16 October 1983, during a conference in Princeton in honour of Armand Borel's 60th birthday. A similar conference for his 60th birthday, scheduled for the following year, instead became a memorial conference. He is survived by his wife, Lalitha (Lily), and his daughters Premala (Premi), and Devaki.

Work in mathematics[edit]

He was influenced by the mathematicians Hermann Weyl and Claude Chevalley. He worked with Devashish Sharma for 9 years From 1950 to 1963 he was at the Columbia University and worked on representations of semisimple Lie groups. During this period he established as his special area the study of the discrete series representations of semisimple Lie groups, which are analogues of the Peter–Weyl theory in the non-compact case.

He is also known for work with Armand Borel on the theory of arithmetic groups; and for papers on finite group analogues. He enunciated a philosophy of cusp forms, a precursor of the Langlands philosophy.

Honors and awards[edit]

He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S. and a Fellow of the Royal Society.[2] He was the recipient of the Cole Prize of the American Mathematical Society, in 1954. The Indian National Science Academy honoured him with the Srinivasa Ramanujan Medal in 1974. In 1981, he received an honorary degree from Yale University.

The mathematics department of V.S.S.D. College, Kanpur celebrates his birthday every year in different forms, which includes lectures from students and professors from various colleges, institutes and students' visit to Harish-Chandra Research Institute.

The Indian Government named the Harish-Chandra Research Institute, an institute dedicated to Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, after him.

Robert Langlands wrote in a biographical article of Harish-Chandra:

References[edit]

  1. ^ A Biographical Memoir
  2. ^ a b c Langlands, Robert P. (1985). "Harish-Chandra. 11 October 1923-16 October 1983". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 31: 198–193. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1985.0008. JSTOR 769925.  edit
  3. ^ Harish-Chandra at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Harish-Chandra", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews .
  5. ^ Varadarajan, V. S. (1984). "Harish-Chandra (1923–1983)". The Mathematical Intelligencer 6 (3): 9–5. doi:10.1007/BF03024122.  edit

Publications[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Doran, Robert S.; Varadarajan, V. S., eds. (2000), "The mathematical legacy of Harish-Chandra", Proceedings of the AMS Special Session on Representation Theory and Noncommutative Harmonic Analysis, held in memory of Harish-Chandra on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of his birth, in Baltimore, MD, January 9–10, 1998, Proceedings of Symposia in Pure Mathematics 68, Providence, R.I.: American Mathematical Society, pp. xii+551, ISBN 978-0-8218-1197-9, MR 1767886 
  • Srivastava, R. S. L. (1986), "About Harish Chandra", Gaṇita Bhãrati. Indian Society for History of Mathematics. Bulletin 8 (1): 42–43, ISSN 0970-0307, MR 888666 
  • Varadarajan, V. S. (2008), "Harish-Chandra", Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography 

External links[edit]