Mahan Mj

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Mahan Mj
Alma materIndian Institute of Technology Kanpur
University of California, Berkeley
AwardsShanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award Infosys Prize 2015 for Mathematical Sciences
Scientific career
InstitutionsTata Institute of Fundamental Research
Doctoral advisorAndrew Casson

Mahan Mj (born Mahan Mitra (Bengali: মহান মিত্র), 5 April 1968[1]), also known as Mahan Maharaj and Swami Vidyanathananda, is an Indian mathematician and monk of the Ramakrishna Order. He is currently Professor of Mathematics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai. He is a recipient of the 2011 Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in Mathematical Sciences.[2][3] and the Infosys Prize 2015 for Mathematical Sciences.[4] He is best known for his work in hyperbolic geometry, geometric group theory, low-dimensional topology and complex geometry.

Early education[edit]

Mahan Mitra studied at St. Xavier's Collegiate School, Calcutta, till Class XII. He then entered the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, with an AIR (All India Rank) rank of 67 in the Joint Entrance Examination, where he initially chose to study electrical engineering but later switched to mathematics. He graduated with a Masters in mathematics from IIT Kanpur in 1992.[5]


Mahan Mitra joined the PhD program in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, with Andrew Casson as his advisor.[6] He received the Earle C. Anthony Fellowship, U.C. Berkeley in 1992–1993 and the prestigious Sloan Fellowship for 1996–1997.[5] After earning a doctorate from U.C. Berkeley in 1997, he worked briefly at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai in 1998.

Spiritually inclined, he joined the Ramakrishna Math as a renunciate. He was deeply influenced by the works and ideology of Swami Vivekananda[7] , the chief disciple of 19th century mystic, saint Ramakrishna Paramahansa[5](also considered as an avatar[8]). His initial name was Brahmachari BrahmaChaitanya. He was renamed as Swami Vidyanathananda after receiving his ochre robe in 2008.[9] Swami Vidyanathananda is a monk at the order's headquarters at Belur Math.

He was Professor of Mathematics and Dean of Research at the Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University till 2015.[10] He is currently Professor of Mathematics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai.[11]

He has widely published and presented his research in the area of hyperbolic manifolds and ending lamination spaces. His most notable work is the proof of existence of Cannon–Thurston maps.[12][13] This led to the resolution of the conjecture that connected limit sets of finitely generated Kleinian groups are locally connected.[5] He is also the author of a book titled Maps on boundaries of hyperbolic metric spaces.[14]

Mj was an invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 2018 in Rio de Janeiro.


Mahan Maharaj, as he is known to his students and colleagues, is fluent in English, Hindi and Bengali. He also knows a bit of Tamil, learnt from his stay in southern part of India at IMSc. He has been quoted as saying "I am enjoying being a monk as much as I enjoy my mathematics".[15]


  1. ^ "Brief Profile of the Awardee, Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize".
  2. ^
  3. ^ PTI (26 September 2011). "11 scientists selected for Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award". New Delhi. IBN Live. Archived from the original on 4 January 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d "Institute Lecture: What is hyperbolic geometry?" (PDF). IIT Kanpur. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  6. ^ "The Mathematics Genealogy Project - Andrew Casson".
  7. ^ "Swami Vivekananda - Wikipedia". Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Ramakrishna - Wikipedia". Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  9. ^ "Infosys Prize Laureates 2015—Prof. Mahan Mj".
  10. ^ "Vidyanathananda, the wizard who became a monk - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Mj, Mahan (2014). "Ending Laminations and Cannon–Thurston Maps". Geometric and Functional Analysis. 24: 297–321. arXiv:math/0701725. doi:10.1007/s00039-014-0263-x.
  14. ^ Mitra, Mahan (1997). Maps on boundaries of hyperbolic metric spaces. University of California, Berkeley. ISBN 978-0591-52738-4.
  15. ^ Pandey, Jhimli Mukherjee (28 October 2011). "RKM monk wins country's top math award". The Times of India. Kolkata. Retrieved 29 January 2013.

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