S. Ramanan

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S Ramanan
BornSundararaman Ramanan
(1937-07-20) 20 July 1937 (age 81)
Alma materTata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College, Chennai
AwardsShanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology
Srinivasa Ramanujan Medal
TWAS Prize for Mathematics
Scientific career
Fieldsalgebraic geometry, moduli spaces, Lie groups
InstitutionsChennai Mathematical Institute, Chennai Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
Doctoral advisorMS Narasimhan

S (Sundararaman) Ramanan (born 20 July 1937) is an Indian mathematician who works in the area of algebraic geometry, moduli spaces and Lie groups. He is one of India's leading mathematicians and internationally recognised as an outstanding expert in algebraic geometry, especially in the area of modulii problems. He has also done some very beautiful work in differential geometry: his joint paper with MS Narasimhan on universal connections has been very influential. It enabled, among other things, SS Chern and B Simons to introduce what is known as the Chern-Simons invariant, which has proved useful in theoretical physics.[1]

The honours awarded to Professor Ramanan include the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize, India's highest science prize,[2] in 1979; the TWAS Prize for Mathematics in 2001[3] and the Ramanujan Medal in 2010.

He is the nephew of the Sanskrit scholar and Vedanta expert, the late Ramachandra Dikshitar, who was a professor at the Banaras Hindu University. Professor Ramanan is also a great aficionado and an amateur singer of Carnatic music.

He is an alumnus of the Ramakrishna Mission School in Chennai and the Vivekananda College in Chennai, where he completed a BA Honours in mathematics, standing second in mathematics and first in English among students of the science stream in the final exams in what was then Madras Presidency. He completed his PhD at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, under the direction of MS Narasimhan, with whom he collaborated for decades. He did his post-doctoral studies at Oxford University, Harvard University and ETH Zurich.

He later pursued a lengthy career at TIFR, with many international visits. He picked up the methods of modern differential geometry from the French mathematician Jean-Louis Koszul,[4] and later successfully applied it for his research centred on algebraic geometry. He has also made important contributions to the topics of abelian varieties and also vector bundles.

He has guided many doctoral students. They include A Ramanathan, Usha Bhosale, K Guruprasad, Shrawan Kumar, N Mohan Kumar, Kapil Paranjape, Chanchal Kumar, Jaya Iyer and Indrani Biswas. He also considerably helped MS Raghunathan, VK Patodi, DS Nagaraj, Sarbeswar Pal and Pooja Singla. In particular he was a senior colleague of M S Raghunathan and influenced him considerably.[5] Vijay Kumar Patodi who proved part of the Atiyah-Singer index theorem, was found and encouraged by Ramanan, and Patodi's PhD was done under the combined direction of Narasimhan and Ramanan.[6] He has guided more than a dozen doctoral students. Mathematicians influenced by Ramanan include N Mohan Kumar,[7] Shrawan Kumar,[8] D S Nagaraj,[9] Kapil H Paranjape,[10] Jaya Iyer,[11] Annamalai Ramanathan and several others.[12]

He was very close to, and has closely collaborated with, many Western mathematicians of note, like the late Raoul Bott, who was at Harvard University. While in TIFR as distinguished professor, he was one of the important figures in the school of mathematics in India. He now continues his contributions via teaching and mentoring at the Chennai Mathematical Institute,[13] where he is adjunct professor, and the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai.

He is a great lecturer[14] and expositor. He has written the book Modulii of Abelian Varieties with Allan Adler, published by Springer-Verlag, and a graduate-level book on algebraic geometry called Global Calculus, published by the American Mathematical Society.[15]

He has been a visiting professor at many of the world's leading universities, including Harvard University, University of California at Berkeley, the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, UCLA, Oxford University, Cambridge University, the Max Planck Institute and University of Paris. In 1978 he gave one of the prestigious 50 minute invited talks at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Helsinki, and has also been a speaker at many major international conferences. In 1999, he was extended the privilege of speaking on some aspects of the work of André Weil, one of the greatest mathematicians of 20th century, on the occasion of his being awarded the prestigious Inamouri Prize.

He is married to Anuradha Ramanan, a translator and former librarian, and has two daughters.

The first daughter is Sumana Ramanan, a senior journalist. A graduate of Brandeis University and the University of Chicago, she is now a freelance journalist and columnist. Earlier, she was a consulting editor with the Economic & Political Weekly in Mumbai; the managing editor of Scroll.in, an award-winning pioneering digital newspaper, which she helped start; a senior editor and readers' editor at the Hindustan Times; an editor with Reuters; and a foreign correspondent based in Jerusalem, Israel, among other positions. She has received a British Chevening Award for Young Journalists; was part of the team that won the Ramnath Goenka Award for spot reporting of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and is the recipient of the Red Ink journalism award in 2016 for her writing on culture. She is married to Jaikumar Radhakrishnan, a theoretical computer scientist.

Professor Ramanan's second daughter is Kavita Ramanan,[16] a noted mathematician who is now a professor of applied mathematics at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. She was previously at Bell Labs and Carnegie Mellon University. A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, she got her Phd from Brown University, Rhode Island, USA. She is the recipient of the prestigious international Erlang Prize for outstanding contributions to applied probability, in 2006.

Selected publications[edit]

  • I. Biswas & S. Ramanan (1994). "An infinitesimal study of the moduli of Hitchin pairs". Journal of the London Mathematical Society. 49 (2): 219–231. doi:10.1112/jlms/49.2.219.


  1. ^ A conference in honour of S Ramanan Archived 26 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "List of Bhatnagar award recipients in mathematical sciences". Csir.res.in. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Prizes and Awards". The World Academy of Sciences. 2016.
  4. ^ Koszul, J.-L. Lectures on fibre bundles and differential geometry. With notes by S Ramanan. Reprint of the 1965 edition. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Lectures on Mathematics and Physics, 20. Published for the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bombay; by Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1986. viii+127 pp. ISBN 3-540-12876-X
  5. ^ "S. G. Dani on MS Raghunathan" (PDF). Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  6. ^ "Patodi biography". History.mcs.st-and.ac.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Homepage of N. Mohan Kumar". Math.wustl.edu. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  8. ^ "Shrawan Kumar homepage". Math.unc.edu. 12 June 1953. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  9. ^ "D. S. Nagaraj homepage". Imsc.res.in. 6 August 2005. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  10. ^ "Kapil H. Paranjape homepage". Imsc.res.in. 16 April 2004. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  11. ^ "Jaya Iyer Homepage". Imsc.res.in. 17 January 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  12. ^ "Mathematical Genealogy of S Ramanan". Genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  13. ^ "Chennai Mathematical Institute faculty page". Cmi.ac.in. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  14. ^ "A lecture of Ramanan at MSRI, Berkeley". Msri.org. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  15. ^ "AMS page on the book titled Global Calculus". Ams.org. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  16. ^ "Kavita Ramanan". Math.cmu.edu. Retrieved 12 January 2012.