Monday, December 08, 2008

John Robert Stallings (1935-2008)

John R.Stallings passed away on november 24, 2008. He visited the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in 1967 and I was asked to wrote his lecture notes on 'Polyhedral Toplogy'. By that time my interests were established and I was planning to work in Algebraic Topology and Dufferential Toplogy. Before he came, I read many of his papers and during the two months of his stay, I was in contact with him almost daily discussing his lectures. Towards the end of his stay, he mentioned that Papakyriokopoulos did some great work in 3-dimensional topology, a topic which I never looked at before. After he left, I read half dozen papers in the topic and suddenly started working in that area. Working in relative isolation, I did not know what was relevant and just went on with problems that bugged me. Then over years, I found that whatever I did had some connection to Stallings' work. Perhaps, coming in to contact with a first rate mind early in my career unknowingly influenced me and I do not think that there is a single paper of mine not influenced by Stallings. Appropriately I am listed among his Ph.D. Students in the Mathematics Geneology project though I was never officially his student. My official guide was another wonderful mathematician M.S. Narasimhan who let me do whatever I liked and often entertained me with beer and insights about mathematics.
P.S. Photo here and more
My only published paper with a dedication (so far) here

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