Friday, November 23, 2007

Kosambi Blazed a New Trail, Let’s Follow It

This was the title Kosambi chose for his autobiographical note. He started with the question: ‘Why science’? And the reply was that he had opted for a career in science in the first place because there lay the key to progress, a key that his motherland had long ago lost to the West. The Marxist approach to science stands out in bold relief in his statement: “science is the cognition of necessity, freedom is the recognition of necessity.” His feelings on a personal encounter with Einstein, whom he called “the passionate adventurer” sheds light on his spirit of continuous search and research:

“In 1949 Einstein pointed out to me during one of several long and highly involved private technical discussions that certain beautifully formulated thesis of his would mean that the whole universe consisted of no more than two charged particles. Then he added with a rueful smile, ’perhaps I had been working on the wrong lines, and the nature does not obey differential equations after all.’ If a scientist of his rank could face the possibility that his entire life-work might have to be discarded, could I insist that the theorems whose inner beauty brought me so much pleasure after heavy toil must be of profound significance in natural philosophy?”

Arindam Sen remembers DD Kosambi on his centenary.

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