Sunday, March 21, 2010

Telugu people in basic research

I got a letter from somebody who found that I was in the School of Mathematics, TIFR and wonders "...very few Telugu people are found at such institutes.Is it any lack of interest shown by telugu people towards basic sciences or any discrimination.But the fact remains that there is something that remains under achieved by telugu people."
The simple answer is that I do not know. I got in to mathematics by accident. I was not of the right age to do Engineering and so my father sent me do mathematics. His reason was that it was easier to score higher marks in mathematics to enter IAS. Then I read "Men of Mathematics" by E.T. Bell and was bitten by the mathematics bug. I also rember Gopal Prasad (from U.P.) telling me that though he was doing well in his studies, his father did not want him to do a degree and wanted to him to go in to family business. Then his father's mother intervened and his father agreed. Out of his nine brothers three became excellent mathematics and and one a theoretical physicist. At one time there were a lot of statisticians from Andhra possibly because Andhra University was one of the first (may be the first) to introduce a masters degree in statistics. So there might have been several family, cultural, economic and chance factors and of course opportunities involved in these developments.
P.s. It is difficult to associate a definite linguistic identity to some of the well known mathematicians like S. Minakshisundaram (about whom I posted earlier) , K.G. Ramanathan (, Madhav Nori and many others.

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