S. Ramanan

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S Ramanan
Born
Sundararaman Ramanan

(1937-07-20) 20 July 1937 (age 81)
Tiruvannamalai
NationalityIndia
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 moduli 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].

He has received several honours, including 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 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 was an important figure of the institute's school of mathematics. 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 vector bundles.

He was very close to, and has closely collaborated with, many Western mathematicians of note, such as the late Raoul Bott, who was at Harvard University. 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 got the privilege of speaking about some aspects of the work of André Weil, one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, on the occasion of his being awarded the prestigious Inamouri Prize.

He has guided more than a dozen doctoral students and influenced other young scholars. His students include Usha Bhosale, Indranil Biswas, K Guruprasad, Jaya Iyer, Chanchal Kumar, N Mohan Kumar, Shrawan Kumar, Mangala Manohar, Kapil Paranjape and A Ramanathan. He also substantially helped DS Nagaraj, Sarbeswar Pal and Pooja Singla. Ramanan discovered and encouraged the brilliant young mathematician Vijay Kumar Patodi, who proved part of the Atiyah-Singer index theorem, Patodi did his Phd under the combined direction of Narasimhan and Ramanan.[5] Patodi tragically died at the early age of 40. Ramanan was MS Raghunathan's senior colleague and influenced him considerably.[6]

He is a great lecturer[7] and expositor. He has written the book Moduli 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.[8]

He now continues his contributions via teaching and mentoring at the Chennai Mathematical Institute,[9] where he is adjunct professor, and at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai.

He is the nephew of the Sanskrit scholar and Vedanta expert, the late Ramachandra Dikshitar, who was a professor at the Banaras Hindu University, and earlier the principal of the Madras Sanskrit College. He privately taught eminent people such as Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Justice Patanjali Sastri. He received the President's Medal for Excellence. Professor Ramanan is also a great aficionado and an amateur singer of Carnatic music. For more than a decade, he helped run a vibrant classical music club at TIFR.

He is married to Anuradha Ramanan, a translator and former librarian. Under her 19-year stewardship of Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) library, it became one of the finest private libraries in Mumbai for economics and finance. She has translated the best-selling I have a dream by Rashmi Bansal and I am you by Priya Kumar into Tamil. She has also written several biographical sketches of people who have challenged accepted social norms, such as Jyotiba Phule and Rosa Parks, in the form of mini-books in Tamil for middle-school children.

They have two daughters. The first daughter is Sumana Ramanan (Dixit), a senior journalist, studied on the Wien International Scholarship Programme (WISP) at Brandeis University and received a merit scholarship from the University of Chicago for her Masters. After 25 years of working in full-time positions, she is now a freelance journalist and columnist: she writes the column 'High Notes', on the world of Indian classical music, for Mumbai Mirror. Her last position was with the Economic & Political Weekly in Mumbai, where she was a consulting editor. Before that, she was 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. She has also worked with Business World; The Statesman and The Independent, 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,[10] 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.

References[edit]

  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. ^ "Patodi biography". History.mcs.st-and.ac.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  6. ^ "S. G. Dani on MS Raghunathan" (PDF). Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  7. ^ "A lecture of Ramanan at MSRI, Berkeley". Msri.org. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  8. ^ "AMS page on the book titled Global Calculus". Ams.org. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Chennai Mathematical Institute faculty page". Cmi.ac.in. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  10. ^ "Kavita Ramanan". Math.cmu.edu. Retrieved 12 January 2012.