Monday, June 09, 2008

Alladi Ramakrishnan

Alladi Ramakrishnan, who made fundamental contributions to several fields of study since 1947 and founded the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (MATSCIENCE), died in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday night.Dr. Ramakrishnan was the Director of MATSCIENCE in Chennai for 22 years, during which he built up an ethos of innovative thinking and an ambience that was ever responsive to new ideas.Prof. Alladi Ramakrishnan is the son of that eminent lawyer, Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer, who together with B. R. Ambedkar, T. T. Krishnamachari, K. M. Munshi, N. Madhava Row and Benegal Narasingha Rao drafted the Indian Constitution.Dr. Ramakrishnan graduated in Physics from Madras University in 1943. He took his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester in 1951 and later taught theoretical physics at the University of Madras until 1962 and became a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences.He has authored or co-authored over 150 influential scientific papers in leading journals on topics ranging over Stochastic Processes, Elementary Particle Physics, Matrix Algebra, and the Special Theory of Relativity.On January 3, 1962 mathematical Institute was inaugurated by Prof. S. Chandrasekhar, F.R.S. Distinguished Service Professor of the Enrico Fermi Institute of Nuclear Studies, University of Chicago, in the main English lecture hall of Presidency College. The first lecture was by Chandrasekhar himself: he had agreed to be an Honorary Professor of Astrophysics at the Madras institute. He addressed its first students in the Physics lecture room where his illustrious uncle, Sir C. V. Raman, Ramakrishnan and C. Subramaniam had all spent many hours as undergraduates. It was Raman who had persuaded Ramakrishnan, the physics graduate who had become a lawyer, to return to physics and mathematics.Dr. Ramakrishnan passionately believed that science and art could go hand-in-hand. He was one who could appreciate the mathematical structures in Carnatic music as much as he could revel in the purity of the mathematical form.

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