Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kosambis at Fergusson College

Dr Meera Kosambi, daughter of DD Kosambi, writes about her family's association with the Fergusson College in Pune. (via Arvind Gupta)
My father, Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi (1907-1966), followed in his father's footsteps by joining Fergusson College in 1933. He had completed his schooling at Cambridge, Massachusetts, and passed his Bachelor's degree from Harvard University with distinction, majoring in Mathematics. On returning to India he taught for two years at Benares Hindu University and then for two years at Aligarh Muslim University before coming to Pune and Fergusson College. Here he taught Mathematics and Statistics for 13 years, before joining the newly opened Tata Institute of Fundamental Research as a professor of  mathematics to work there until he retired.

The informal American style characteristic of D. D. Kosambi contrasted with the more British and staid atmosphere of Fergusson College. He gave extra help to the interested students (who also adored him), but felt little sympathy for those whose only interest was in scraping through the examination (and who found him to be strict and demanding). One of his foremost students was A.R. Kamat who was associated with the Deccan Education Society as a professor of Statistics for many years.

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