The South Asian Times

25 May 2019 09:02 AM

Indian mathematician donates $1 million to UCLA


To establish a professorship honoring legendary mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan

New Delhi: An India-born eminent mathematician and his wife have given $1 million to an American university to establish a professorship honoring legendary Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.

The new position aims to honor the genius Ramanujan, who made substantial contributions to mathematics in the early 1900s.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has received the amount from mathematics professor emeritus VS Varadarajan and his wife Veda to establish the 'Ramanujan Visiting Professorship' in his home department, the varsity said in a statement.

The new post will help attract visiting faculty members in Varadarajan's specializations of automorphic forms, an important concept in number theory, and representation theory, which has been linked to elementary particles and quantum physics.

The UCLA Academic Senate and the University of California Office of the President have to approve the chair's establishment. The gift is part of the Centennial Campaign for the UCLA, which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019 during the university's 100th anniversary year, the article said.

The additional expertise would enhance UCLA's renowned mathematics department, which was ranked among the top 10 graduate programmes in the country in 2018 by the US News & World Report.

The UCLA said Mr. Varadarajan's career included work in various areas of mathematics and physics and his research has been motivated by a "desire to understand the role of symmetry in mathematics and physics."

A Ph.D. in Mathematics from Calcutta University and Master's in Math and Statistics from the University of Madras, Varadarajan has an honorary doctorate in Physics from the University of Genova and was awarded the Lars Onsager medal from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology for his work in mathematics.

Varadarajan joined UCLA in 1965 and retired in 2014. 

Veda Varadarajan has her own connection to UCLA — the alumna earned her master’s degree in atmospheric sciences in 1976.

Update: 14 March, 2019