Friday, May 22, 2009

Kosambi the Mathematician

Dr. CK Raju writes in the current issue of the EPW on DD Kosambi the Mathematician (pdf file). I will convert the pdf to html at a later point and re- post the full article here. Here is the summary:
Apart from his more popular work on numismatics and genetics, D D Kosambi worked on path geometry, exploring the foundations of general relativity. He also worked on statistics in infinite dimensions, computing, and probabilistic number theory. His whole mathematical career appears as one long clash of values. A rejection of the value of specialisation saw him leave Harvard. The high value he placed on research saw his exit from Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University. His attempt to impart real knowledge of mathematics saw him sacked from Fergusson College, Pune. His insistence on ethical and relevant research led to his exit from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research where, too, the diversity of his interests was portrayed negatively, though he continued his mathematical research till the end of his life. His mathematical career raises a number of questions regarding science management in post-independence India. These questions are vital today when the state is again making huge investments in science and technology.

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