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Monday, 26 December 2011

Year-long celebration

A statement by the Ramanujan Mathematical Society on the series of activities planned in 2012 to mark the anniversary

December 22, 2012 marks the 125th birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan. The Ramanujan Mathematical Society (RMS) has planned a series of mathematical activities through the year 2012 by way of celebration. Towards this end, a National Committee for the celebrations has been constituted with Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal as the chair. An Organising Committee has been formed with Professor M.S. Raghunathan, president of the RMS, as chair, and Professor Dinesh Singh, secretary of the RMS, as secretary. The Organising Committee will formulate and implement programmes and projects to be undertaken as part of the celebration, while the National Committee will supervise the work of the Organising Committee.

These are some of the activities proposed for the year 2012, which is to be declared National Mathematics Year by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will inaugurate the celebrations on December 26, 2011 in Chennai. The inaugural function will be held at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium at 10 a.m. The Prime Minister will also announce that December 22 is to be celebrated as National Mathematics Day from 2012 on. Mr. Sibal will also address the gathering.

A commemorative stamp will be issued on the occasion. A new edition of the Ramanujan Notebooks, published by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in 1957 (which contains facsimile images of pages from the notebooks maintained by Ramanujan to record some of his mathematical discoveries), will be released on the occasion. Also at the function, Professor Robert Kanigel, author of an excellent biography of Ramanujan, will be felicitated.

The mathematical activities that are planned are meant to cater to diverse sections of society all over the country. A programme meant for the public is a lecture tour by Prof. Kanigel covering Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi.

The Organising Committee is also planning to bring out translations of Prof. Kanigel's biography in Indian languages. Translators for Hindi, Marathi and Tamil have been identified and commissioned. The committee is trying to locate good translators in other languages as well.

The Organising Committee is in touch with mathematicians in different parts of the country to organise programmes for college and school students in their respective regions. Efforts will be made to reach out to students in smaller towns.

Forums for mathematics teachers in colleges are being planned in different regions. These forums will meet periodically to discuss pedagogical and other professional issues. They will hold enrichment lectures to help their members to acquaint themselves with happenings in current research.

About 20 eminent mathematicians known for their outstanding expository skills are being invited to visit India for a week and deliver five or six talks. These will survey a topic of their choice, starting at a level that will be accessible to first-year PhD students but leading up to current developments. Invitations have been sent out to many and most have accepted, but dates are not confirmed in any of these cases. Announcements of each of these lecture courses (which have been named ‘Mathematical Panorama Lectures') will be made when the dates are firmed up.

Circulars about them will be sent (at least three months in advance) to university departments, and they will also be announced on the websites of the RMS and other leading mathematics institutes. These lectures will be organised in one of the following metros: Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.

In December 2012 (December 17-22) there will be an international conference in Delhi on mathematics related to Ramanujan's work. An International Scientific Committee (chaired by Professor Bruce Berndt) has given a list of speakers to be invited. Translating books such as What is Mathematics by Courant & Robbins into Indian languages is another project on the anvil.

Apart from these activities, there are two major projects that are to be initiated during 2012, though they cannot be completed within that year. One is the establishment of a mathematics museum in Chennai (to be named after Ramanujan). The second project is to produce a documentary film on the history of Indian mathematics.

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