The nature of Damodar Dharmananda Kosambi’s contributions to Mathematics remains largely unknown to scholars in Social Sciences. Arguably, his major contributions in History and numismatics were informed and moulded by his knowledge and style of Mathematics, opined Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hyderabad (UoH) in his talk on 5th August 2014. The talk organized by the Listening Post discussed on Kosambi’s mathematical life, professional trajectory, obsessions and preoccupations, by drawing upon (hitherto unavailable) the complete bibliography of his Mathematics papers – which are in English, German, French, Japanese and Chinese – as well as critiques that appeared in contemporary reviews.
Speaking to a packed audience of students, faculty and staff, Prof. Ramaswamy gave a brief about Kosambi who was born in 1907 in Goa to a peripatetic father, Dharmanand Kosambi. Kosambi was a great Indian Mathematician & Statistician and his main contributions were Kosambi -Cartan-Chern (KCC) theory, the Kasuhuenen –Loeve expansion, Kosambi’s mapping function in genetics and the path geometry.
Prof. Ramaswamy said that Kosambi got early recognition through the Ramanujan prize of Madras University in 1934. Later he was elected to the Indian Academy of Sciences as a Foundation fellow in 1935. In 1945 Homi J. Bhabha invited Kosambi to join Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) as a Professor in Mathematics which he accepted.
Educated in the United States of America at Cambridge school, he went on to become a professor at the Banaras Hindu University, teaching German alongside Mathematics and in 1930 he published his first research paper “Precessions of an Elliptic Orbit” in the Indian Journal of Physics. Later on under the influence of Mathematician Andre Weil, Kosambi joined the Aligarh Muslim University and during his two year stay in Aligarh he produced eight research papers in general area of Differential Geometry and Path spaces.
Kosambi’s papers have been published in all the leading Journals of the world and Mathematician Andre Weil commented that he was the finest intellects to be produced by India.
Listening Post at UoH is an informal initiative to emphasize the skill of listening. In the world of thoughts, ideas, and of multitude, it is believed that the art of listening is significant to hear and to be heard. Listening to one another is an important precondition for dialogue and genuine conversation. Listening Post will organise a series of talks by speakers from the academy talking about their recent work, ideas and interventions.