Celebrated mathematician and teacher C S Seshadri, who is globally acclaimed for his work in a branch of mathematics known as algebraic geometry, died in Chennai late Friday. He was 88.
Seshadri, who was also an accomplished exponent of Carnatic music, set up the Chennai Mathematical Institute, a leading centre of excellence in mathematics, computer science and physics, and was considered to be one of the finest teachers of mathematics in the country.
“In passing away of Professor C S Seshadri, we have lost an intellectual stalwart who did outstanding work in mathematics. His efforts, especially in algebraic geometry, will be remembered for generations,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
President Ram Nath Kovind described Seshadri as a “multifaceted personality and mathematical genius”. “In his passing, we have lost an institution builder,” Kovind said.
Hailing from the temple town of Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu, Seshadri spent his most productive years in research at the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) before moving to the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai.
He established the Chennai Mathematical Institute, which was born out of his desire to integrate undergraduate and post-graduate studies with advanced research.
In an interview to the mathematical magazine Bhavana a couple of years ago, Seshadri said he had seen that many great mathematicians in other countries were actively teaching undergraduate students apart from indulging in their own research, something that was not common in India. The Chennai Mathematical Institute, according to him, was set up to play that kind of role.
Many of Seshadri’s students at the Institute are now noted mathematicians and professors at some of the world’s best universities.
“The passing of Professor C S Seshadri is a great loss to mathematics in particular, and to science and teaching in general. He was among those who built the TIFR School of Mathematics to global acclaim,” K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to the government, said in a statement.
“Seshadri’s lasting contribution is that he has ensured there will be many more like him from the CMI, and from all over India. A life in mathematics, music, institution building and humanism. Worth understanding and its core values worth emulating, no matter what we do,” he said.
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