Komaravolu Chandrasekharan was one of the greatest mathematicians in the history of the world and made some significant contributions to the field of mathematics during his lifetime. He was born in Machilipatnam which is in modern day Andhra Pradesh on 21st November 1920. He completed his primary education from a district school in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh and also did his graduation from a high school at Bapatla which is also in Guntur. He then went on to obtain MA in mathematics from the presidency college in Chennai and was also a research scholar in the department of mathematics, University of Madras.
He joined as a part-time professor at the Presidency college and in the meanwhile obtained his Ph.D. under Ananda Rau who happened to be with Ramanujan at that time.
With his strong disposition towards the field of mathematics, he went to Princeton. And there at Institute for advanced study, he had his exchanges with Homi Bhabha and was invited by Homi Bhabha to join the school of mathematics of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. He had such a passion for mathematics that he persuaded famous mathematicians all over the world to deliver lectures and visit Tata Institute of Fundamental research, some of them were L. Schwartz and C. L. Siegel. It was due to academic brilliance and remarkable organizing skills of K. Chandrasekharan which led him in transforming the fledgling school of Mathematics of TIFR into a center of proficiency and excellence which is still respected all over the world. People from all over the world who are intrigued by Mathematics and have a passion for the subject come here. During this course at TIFR, he also developed an excellent programme of recruiting and training research scholar at TIFR which is so relevant and apt that it is still in use today. The lectures which were delivered at TIFR by the mathematicians have been summarised and prepared in the form of notes and are published by TIFR and they serve as a Pandora box for all the members of the mathematics community.
For his remarkable contributions to the field of mathematics and passion for numbers, he became a member of the executive committee of International Mathematical Union (IMU) and eventually became the secretary and then the President. During this tenure of his service, he made numerous valuable contributions to the Committee. He also served as Vice president and Secretary-general of the International Council of Scientific Union. His number of contributions to the field of Mathematics earned him the honour of being a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet, Government of India during 1961-66. Before the unfortunate death of Homi Bhabha in 1965, Chandrasekharan left TIFR to join ETH Zurich.
Contributions and Awards
Chandrasekharan made his mark in Mathematics pertaining to Number theory and Summability. He held the editorship of the Journal of Indian Mathematical Society in the fifties. Due to his abilities and wide circle, he was able to get some great papers published by the various renowned authors there and is by far considered to be the best editor of Journal of Indian Mathematical Society. For his contributions, he was conferred with numerous awards like Padma Shri in 1959, Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in 1963 and Ramanujan Medal in 1966. His efforts to expand the knowledge of Mathematics led him in persuading IMU in sponsoring International Mathematical Colloquium which is held at the TATA Institute every 4 years. Taking into account of his contributions, he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society in the year 2012.
Komaravolu Chandrasekharan serves as an example for those who believe in themselves and do not shy away from hard work.
Written By: Milan Bhardwaj