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  • Prez emphasises on the need to promote Mathematics

    Published on August 20, 2010

    President Pratibha Patil  stressed on the need for promotion of mathematics studies among the youth, saying the subject inculcated the habit of rational thought and promoted scientific temper.

    Inaugurating the nine-day International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre on Thursday, the President said the need for understanding mathematics was necessary in all walks of life, be it engineers, scientists or those working in the industry, finance or social sciences.

    “Since Independence, India recognised the importance of science as a vehicle for human progress. Mathematics, the language of science and its advancement, is an integral part of India’s science policy,” she added.

    “Economics and social sciences, once impervious to maths, are coming increasingly under its influence. There is an aesthetic component to its pursuit and it inculcates the habit of rational thought. Its role in other human endeavours apart, we also recognise the profound cultural dimension that the study of mathematics has,” Patil said.

    Noting that India’s engagement with mathematics dated back to some three thousand years, the President said the country had a rich mathematical heritage and has been accorded a primary position among intellectual pursuits.

    “Like the crest of the peacock and the jewel of the serpent, Mathematics stands at the helm of all sciences,” Pratibha said, quoting a Sanskrit verse.

    She recalled the contributions of Aryabhatta and Brahmagupta to the development of Algebra and Astronomy and also that of Bhaskaracharya.

    “However, until the last century, the West seems to have been unaware of Madhava, a mathematician of the 15th century who anticipated the essentials of Calculus. It is only in recent years that the work of ‘Kerala School’ has attracted considerable attention from historians of mathematics,” Pratibha Patil pointed out.

    Revival of mathematical activity in India was triggered by the advent of the extraordinary figure of Srinivasa Ramanujan in the 20th century, she said, adding Ramanujan’s achievements were a source of inspiration for succeeding generations.

    She wished success for the initiatives of International Mathematical Union aimed at promotion of mathematics in developing countries.

    The President gave away awards to eminent mathematicians on the occasion.

    The four Fields Medals were presented to Elon Lindenstrauss (Israel), Ngo Bao Chau (Vietnam), Stanislav Smirnov (Russia) and Cedric Villani (France).

    The Rolf Nevanlinna Prize was presented to Daniel Spielman of Yale University while the Gauss Prize was given away to Yves Meyer of France.

    The newly-instituted Chern Prize for lifelong achievements in mathematics was presented to Canadian Louis Nirenberg of New York University.

    Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan, Chief Minister K Rosaiah, International Mathematical Union president L Lovasz, organizing committee chairman M S Raghunathan, secretary Rajat Tandon and others were present on the occasion.

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