He is a stellar mathematician. He went to UC Berkeley. He is a renowned professor of geometry. And he is a monk. He is Mahan Maharaj & he is the recipient of the infosys Prize in Mathematics.
“I follow no organised religion. If you asked me and one put a gun to my head I would probably say science,” (sic). These are the exact words of an inspirational Bengali monk, when he was interviewed by NDTV, after winning the Infosys prize worth 65 Lakh INR, for his work in the field of mathematics.
He is Mahan Mitra aka Mahan Maharaj or Swami Vidyanathananda. An alumnus of St. Xaviers College, Kolkata, Mahan Mj completed his Masters in Mathematics from IIT,Kanpur and PhD from University of California,Berkeley.
In 2011 he was also the recipient of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in the Mathematical Sciences, India’s topmost national award that recognises scientific contributions made by Indian scientists under the age of 45. Here’s his interview after winning this unique distinction.
The Infosys citation reads – “Prof. Mahan Mj has had a substantial impact on the fields of geometric group theory, low-dimensional topology and complex geometry. His work in all these fields is characterized by its creativity and clever use of delicate geometric arguments.”
He joined Ramkrishna Mission in 1998, and is currently a Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, just opposite Belur Math.
Here is an interview of Mahan Maharaj, who according to us, is a true embodiment of what our beloved Swami VIvekananda had dreamed of – an ascetic devoid of any religious bias standing at the crossroads of science and spirituality. We are proud to be denizens of the same city that he calls home. See this interview to understand the beauty of what he is working on and marvel at a monk’s sprightly humor & razor sharp intellect.
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