Indo–French Cooperation in Mathematics

Indo–French Cooperation in Mathematics

Abstract. Links between mathematicians from India and France are old, strong and fruitful. We present a short survey of these relations. We start with a brief overview of the mathematical heritage of India. The stay of A Weil as a Professor in Aligarh Muslim University from 1930 to 1931 was the first outstanding event in the Franco-Indian relationship. A few years later, the French Jesuit Father Racine came to India where he played a major role in the development of mathematics in this country, as well as in its relations with French mathematicians. Now, there are many collaborations and exchanges of visitors between both countries. This is one of the most flourishing bilateral cooperations and plays a unique role both for French and Indian mathematicians.

1. Indian Tradition in Mathematics

Mathematics has been studied in India since ancient times. There are many references on the subject; among the reliable ones are the books of G R Kaye [5] in 1915, C N Srinivasiengar [13] in 1967, A K Bag [1] in 1979 and A Weil [19] in 1984. References on the more recent period are the papers by R Narasimhan [8] in 1991, V S Varadarajan [14] in 1998, M S Raghunathan [10] in 2003 and K Plofker in 2009.

According to the Hindu tradition, the most important work on astronomy, Surya Siddhanta, is supposed to have been written more than two thousand years ago. However, it seems more likely that this treatise is only about 1200 years old.

As a matter of fact there is no proof of mathematical activity in India before 1500 BC. The Indus civilisation (around 3000 BC) was discovered less than one century ago, the writings have not yet been deciphered; there are weights and objects which seem to be devoted to measure and hence maybe to a numerical system, but nothing else is known yet.

The Sulvasutras (cord manuals) were written by Baudhayana, Apastamba and Katyayana not earlier than between the 8th and the 4th Century BC.

From 500 to 200 BC, Vedic mathematics continued to be developed before declining and leaving place to the mathematics of the Jains: number theory, permutations and combinations, binomial theorem and, as always, astronomy.

A decimal number system existed in India in the 3rd Century BC, during the time of the King Ashoka. On the pillars he erected are found inscriptions in Brahmi with early ancestors of our numerical decimal system of writing in the so-called arabic digits. This way of writing would be an indispensable tool for the later developments of mathematics in India: it enabled Jain mathematicians to write out very large numbers by which they were fascinated.

It is probably between the 2nd and 4th Century AD that the manuscript Bakhshali should be dated; it introduces algebraic operations, decimal notations, zero, quadratic equations, square roots, indeterminates and the minus sign.

The classical period of mathematics in India extends from 600 to 1200 AD. The major works are named Aryabhatiya, Pancasiddhantika, Aryabhatiya Bhasya, Maha Bhaskariya, Brahmasputasiddhanta, Patiganita, Ganitasarasangraha, Ganitalaka, Lilavati, Bijaganita, and the authors are Aryabhata I (476– 550), Varahamihira (505–587), Bhaskara I (∼600– ∼680), Brahmagupta (598–670), Mahaviracarya (∼800 –∼870), Aryabhata II (∼920–∼1000), Srıdhara (∼870–∼930), Bhaskaracarya (Bhaskara II, 1114–1185).

Mahavira, a Jain from the region of Mysore, one of the few Indian mathematicians of that time who was not an astronomer, wrote one among the first courses of arithmetic.

Bhaskara II (also named Bhaskaracarya, or Professor Bhaskara), belonged to the Ujjain school, like Varahamihira and Brahmagupta. His treatise of astronomy called Siddhantasiromani (1150) contains chapters on geometry (Lilavati) and on algebra (Bijaganita).

While the mathematical school was declining in the rest of India, it flourished in Kerala between the 14th and the 17th Century. After the work on astronomy and on series by Madhava of Sangamagramma (1350–1425), the four most important works on astronomy and mathematics from that period are Tantrasangraha of Nilakantha Somayaji (1444–1544), Yuktibhasa by Jyesthdeva, Karana Paddhati by Putamana Somayaij and Sadratnamala by Sankara Varman. Another Indian mathematician from the 14th Century is Narayana (∼1340– ∼1400), who studied Fibonacci–like sequences.

One of the main features of the mathematics from the Kerala School is the geometric treatment of algebraic problems. An example is the text Karanamrta written by Citrabhanu in 1530.

In his treatise on astronomy, Madhava used a series for $$pi$$ and obtained 11 decimal digits, while Viete in 1579 could obtain only 9 decimal digits by computing the perimeter of a polygon with 393216 sides. Three centuries before Newton, Madhava knew the expansions

$$sin x=x-frac{x^{3}}{3!}+frac{x^{5}}{5!}-frac{x^{7}}{7!}+dots$$


$$cos x=1-frac{x^{2}}{2!}+frac{x^{4}}{4!}-frac{x^{6}}{6!}+dots$$

The invention of infinitesimal calculus in India was motivated by the predictions of eclipses. Aryabhata I, and later Brahmagupta, used the concept of instant motion. Bhaskaracarya used the derivative of the sine function to compute the angle of the ecliptic. These works were later pursued by the Kerala school.

One may consider Madhava as one of the founders of modern analysis.

Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887–1920) is a major character in Indian mathematics. Despite passing away when he was not yet 33, he left behind an important work of which the originality is outstanding.

During his school years his unique subject of interest was mathematics and he neglected all other topics. After he obtained a 2nd class place in the entrance exam at the University of Madras, which won for him a scholarship to the Government College of Kumbakonam, he failed his exam at the end of his first year at the Government College. In 1903, he acquired a book by G S Carr, A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics, which had a strong influence on him and on his conception of mathematics. This book is a list of exercises without proofs and Ramanujan took each of these as a challenge. He devoted his energy to prove all the theorems [As pointed out to the author by Bruce Berndt, the total number of theorems in Carr’s book is 4417, not 6165, a number promulgated for years because it is not recognised that there are many gaps, some of them huge, in Carr’s numbering.] without any help. The main part of the notebooks [11] of Ramanujan is written in the same style, with statements without proofs. One may compare this with the style of the sutras used by ancient Hindu mathematicians.

From 1903 to 1914, while he had a hard time finding a job to support his living expenses, he wrote in his notebooks some 3254 mathematical statements. Despite his important results, he did not get recognition from established mathematicians.

In 1912, he obtained a position as a clerk in an office of the Port Trust in Madras. In early 1913, he received an invitation from G H Hardy to visit him in Cambridge; the same year, he received a grant from the University of Madras which was not large enough to support his journey or stay in England, but he managed to accept Hardy’s invitation.

During the five years he spent in Cambridge he published 21 papers including five joint papers with Hardy. In 1916, he graduated from Cambridge University thanks to his memoir on highly composite numbers. In February 1918, he was awarded the prestigious Fellowship of the Royal Society. He was elected Fellow of Trinity College in October the same year. Shortly afterwards he became ill — the diagnosis of tuberculosis was the primary diagnosis when Ramanujan lived, but it is doubtful that he had tuberculosis. He went back to India where he passed away on April 26, 1920.

His work is extremely original. According to Hardy [4], the main contribution of Ramanujan in algebra was on hypergeometric series (identities of Dougall–Ramanujan) and Rogers–Ramanujan continued fractions. The beginning of the circle method, one of the most powerful tools in analytic number theory, may be found in Ramanujan’s notebooks, but it was, at best, only hazily developed there. It was later developed in his joint work with Hardy. His conjecture that the tau function defined by

$$sum_{nge 1}tao (n)x^{n}=xprod_{nge 1}(a-x^n)^{24}$$


$$|tao (p)|le 2p^{frac{11}{2}}$$

for any prime number p was proved only in 1974 by P Deligne.

The equation of Ramanujan–Nagell is


Ramanujan found five solutions in positive integers

$$1^2+7=2^3,$$ $$3^2+7=2^4,$$ $$5^2+7=2^5,$$ $$11^2+7=2^7,$$ $$181^2+7=2^{15},$$

and conjectured that these are the only ones; this was proved by T Nagell in 1948.

In 1976, G E Andrews found, among files from the succession of G N Watson, the so-called Lost Notebooks of Ramanujan in Trinity College (Cambridge). There were 138 sheets of paper containing some 650 statements all written while Ramanujan was spending the last years of his life in India. In these texts he gives formulae related to his discovery of what he called Mock Theta Functions, a hot research subject nowadays.

2. Indo–French Connexion

The relations between mathematicians from France and from India are old. As was already mentioned, the first links were established by A Weil in 1930, and shortly after that, Father Racine played a major role in the development of mathematical research in India.

2.1. Andr´e Weil

In 1929 Syed Ross Masood, Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, proposed a chair of French civilisation to Andr´e Weil, who was recommended to him by a specialist of Indology, Sylvain Levi. A few months later, this offer was converted into a Chair of Mathematics. Weil reached India in early 1930 and stayed there for more than two years. Among his Indian colleagues were T Vijayaraghavan, D Kosambi and S Chowla ([18, Chap. IV]) whose intellectual qualities he appreciated.

T Vijayaraghavan, who later became the first director of the Ramanujan Institute in Madras (at that time it was independent of the department of mathematics of the university), is known for his study of the so-called P V numbers, which were studied by C Pisot. The influence of Weil on Vijayaraghavan was important (cf. [8, p.242]).

Chowla later went to the University of Panjab and then migrated to the USA.

Kosambi became a noted historian — his book on the Maurya Empire is classical.

In [16], Weil gave a report on the situation of the universities in India in 1936. In his previous report [15] of 1931 at the Indian Mathematical Society he had suggested actions for the improvement of Indian mathematics. The conclusion of [16] deals with the potential of this country and the possibility for India to soon take one of the leading places in the international mathematical community (see also his comment p.536 of [17]).

2.2. Father Racine

Father Racine (1897–1976) reached India in 1937 as a Jesuit missionary after having taken his Doctorate in Mathematics in 1934 under Elie Cartan. He taught mathematics first at St Joseph’s College in Tiruchirappally (Trichy, Tamil Nadu) and from 1939 onwards at Loyola College (Madras). He had connections with many important French mathematicians of that time like J Hadamard, J Leray, A Weil, H Cartan. His erudition was clear from his lectures, his courses were research oriented in contrast with the traditional way of teaching which aimed only at leading the largest number of students to success in their exams. At that time with Ananda Rao, a noted analyst, and Vaidyanathaswamy, who had broader interests, Madras was the best place in India for studying mathematics and for starting into research.

K Ananda Rao (1893–1966), a former student of G H Hardy at Cambridge (he was there at the same time as Ramanujan), is the author of important contributions to the summability of Dirichlet series, and, most of all, he had brilliant research students: T Vijayaraghavan (1902–1955), S S Pillai (1901–1950), Ganapathy Iyer, K Chandrasekharan and C T Rajagopal (1903–1978) are among them.

R Vaidyanathaswamy (1894–1960), a former student of E T Whittaker at Edinburg and of H F Baker at Cambridge, had a deep impact on Indian mathematics. His background was more abstract than the ones of his colleagues, and he was remarkably open-minded.

Father Racine and Vaidyanathaswamy were the promoters of modern mathematics. Instead of following the tradition by teaching only classical material, they also introduced in their courses the new mathematical structures which were developed in a systematic way at that time by Bourbaki. Father Racine also encouraged his students to read recent books, like the one by L Schwartz on distributions. Further, he helped young mathematicians who did not find a position after their theses, like Minakshisundaram, one of the most gifted mathematicians of his generation, according to R Narasimhan ([8, p. 251]).

The list [12] of the former students of Father Racine who became well known mathematicians is impressive: Venugopal Rao, P K Raman, M S Narasimhan, C S Seshadri, Ramabhadran, K Varadarajan, Raghavan Narasimhan, C P Ramanujam, Ramabhadran Narasimhan, Ananda Swarup, S Ramaswamy, Cyril D’Souza, Christopher Rego, V S Krishnan and S Sribala.

Father Racine encouraged his best students to join the newly founded Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Bombay with K Chandrasekharan and K G Ramanathan. This explains why so many mathematicians from that generation who were the leaders in TIFR came from Tamil Nadu.

2.3. The Tata Institute

The creation of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bombay is due to a physicist of the Indian Institute of Science of Bangalore, Homi J Bhabha (1909–1966), who had political support from J Nehru and financial support from the Tatas, a Parsi industrial family which is still extremely powerful. At the end of the 19th Century, a member of this family, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, was at the origin of the creation of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. The goal of Bhabha was for India to acquire nuclear power, and for this purpose it was necessary to create a research school in physics of high level; in turn, this objective made it necessary to create a strong mathematical research school.

K Chandrasekharan (who was to emigrate to ETH Zurich later) joined the Tata Institute as early as 1948 and became the director. Thanks to his remarkable action as the head of this institute, TIFR became a prestigious research institute. He had the ability to discover the talented future scientists and he knew how to direct them towards suitable research topics, even when he was not a specialist himself. At the same time, he succeeded in attracting to Bombay a large number of the best mathematicians of that time, who gave courses to the young students working on their PhDs. With such a director, the Tata Institute of Bombay soon had a strong international reputation.

Raghavan Narasimhan (who left later for Chicago), K G Ramanathan, K Ramachandra in number theory, C S Seshadri (FRS, now Director of the Chennai Mathematical Institute), M S Narasimhan (who has been Director of Mathematics at ICTP (International Center for Theoretical Physics, also called Abdus Salam Center, in Trieste) in algebraic geometry, R Sridharan, R Parimala (invited lecturer at ICM2010) in commutative algebra, M S Raghunathan (FRS), Gopal Prasad, S G Dani, specialist of arithmetic groups, V K Patodi (Heat equation) are among the eminent mathematicians from TIFR. R Balasubramanian, now Head of Mat. Science (IMSc Institute of Mathematical Sciences) in Chennai, is a former student of K Ramachandra at TIFR Bombay.

Right after its creation, many influential French mathematicians visited the Tata Institute of Bombay and gave courses. In the 50’s, L Schwartz visited it several times, followed by H Cartan, F Bruhat, J L Koszul, P Samuel, B Malgrange, J Dieudonn´e, P Gabriel, M Demazure, A Douady and many others, invited by the Director of that time, K Chandrasekharan. Later, at the end of the 60’s, A Weil and A Grothendieck visited TIFR.

2.4. Indo–French cooperation in mathematics

The influence of French mathematicians on the development of mathematics in India has played a leading role in at least two topics: algebraic geometry in the 1960’s and theoretical partial differential equations in the 1970’s.

J-L Verdier was responsible for a PICS Inde (PICS = Programme International de Coop´eration Scientifique) of the CNRS (Centre International de la Recherche Scientifique) from 1986 to 1989. A report on this cooperation was published in the Gazette des Math´ematiciens of the Soci´et´e Math´ematique de France (n◦ 49, juin 1991, pp. 59–61).

A second report dealing with the activities from 1986 and 1995 was published in the same Gazette des Math´ematiciens (n◦ 71, 1997, pp. 62–65).

In applied mathematics also the cooperation between mathematicians from France and from India is quite strong. While J L Lions was at the head of INRIA (Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique) in Rocquencourt, he developed close relations with several Indian institutions: IISc (Indian Institute of Science) in Bangalore, IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) in Delhi, and most of all with the small group of mathematicians working on partial differential equations in the Bangalore section of TIFR. In September 1997, a Master of Scientific Calculus was created at the the University of Pondicherry, thanks to cooperative efforts directed by O Pironneau. The cooperation on Scientific Calculus for Mechanics and Engineering between the Laboratory of Numerical Analysis of Paris VI and INRIA Rocquencourt in France and ISSc Bangalore, TIFR Bangalore and IIT Delhi in India, started in 1975 and the agreements have been renewed in 1993; this programme is supported by IFCPAR, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Pole de recherche commun Dassault-Aviation/Universite Paris VI.

Since 1995, many projects benefitted from different financial supports in all fields of science. Among them are the following ones:

· The Indo–French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (IFCPAR, CEFIPRA in French) is a bilateral programme of scientific cooperation between India and France under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of France. Under the heading of pure and applied mathematics, there is one ongoing project:


Three years (September, 2009 to August, 2012)

and the following ones have been completed:


Three years (February, 2008 to January, 2011)


Three years (September, 2007 to August, 2010)


Three years (September, 2006 to August, 2009)


Three years (March, 2006 to February, 2009)


Three years (October, 2003 to September, 2006)


Four years (July, 2002 to June, 2006)


Three years (November, 2001 to October, 2004)


Three years (September, 2001 to August, 2004)


Three years (May, 2001 to April, 2004)


Three years and six months (July, 1999 to December, 2002)


Three years and six months (March, 1999 to August, 2002)


Three years (May, 1997 to April, 2000)


Three years (May, 1997 to April, 2000)


Three years and six months (March, 1999 to August, 2002)


Three years (November, 1996 to October, 1999)


Four years (December, 1995 to November, 1999)


Three years (August, 1995 to July, 1998)


Three years (February, 1995 to February, 1998)


Three years (February, 1992 to January, 1995)


Three years (March, 1992 to February, 1995)


Three years and six months (September, 1992 to February, 1996)


One year (April, 1989 to March, 1990)

· The Indo–French Institute of Mathematics (IFIM = Institut Franco–Indien de Math´ematiques) is a virtual institute which was created in 2003 with the support of NBHM (National Board for Higher Mathematics) and DST (Department of Science and Technology) on the Indian side and MAE (Minist`ere des Affaires Etrang`eres) and CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) on the French side. One of the main objectives is to provide financial support for doctoral, postdoctoral and research positions.

· There are several MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) between French and Indian Universities. One of them involved the University of Pondicherry in India and the universities of Paris VI and Poitiers in France. During a number of years, there were many scientific exchanges under this agreement with a strong support of the French Embassy in Delhi.

Thanks to an agreement (MoU) between the CMI (Chennai Mathematical Institute) and ENS (´Ecole Normale Sup´erieure, rue d’Ulm, Paris), every year since 2000, some three young students from ENS visit CMI for two months and deliver courses to the undergraduate students of CMI, and three students from CMI visit ENS for two months. The French students are accommodated in the guest house of IMSc, which participates in this cooperation.

Another MoU has been signed in 2009 between the University of Paris VI Pierre et Marie Curie and the two institutes of Chennai, CMI and IMSc. An item in this MoU follows a recommendation of the COPED (Committee for Developing Countries) of the French Academy of Sciences: each year, one full-time teaching duty of a mathematician from Paris VI will be given in Chennai. In practice, two professors from Paris 6 will go to CMI each year to teach a graduate programme for one term each.

New IITs are being launched, one of them in Rajasthan, supported by the French government. An agreement with the University Paris Sud (Orsay) enables the teachers from that university to deliver their courses in this new IIT.

· Several other sources of funding enable senior mathematicians from India and France to visit the other country. Among them include support from CNRS and the Ministry of Education in France and from the NBHM in India. As an example, an agreement between CNRS and NBHM from 1999 to 2003 enabled some three mathematicians from each country to visit the other one in each year, when no other support from one of the other programmes was suitable. There are also agreements between the Acad´emie des Sciences de Paris and the INSA (National Science Academy) in New Delhi.

· A number of scholarships enable young mathematicians from India (as well as from other countries) to pursue their studies in France. This includes cotutelle theses (codirection). The website of the French Embassy gathers some information on this matter and proposes a number of links to several institutions in France: Campus France, Egide, CNOUS (Centre National des Oeuvres Universitaires et Scolaires), ONISEP (a French provider of student career and job information), CEFI (Centre de ressources et de prospective sur les Grandes ´ecoles d’ing´enieurs et de gestion, et sur les emplois d’encadrement). . .

· A joint initiative of CIMPA (Centre International de Math´ematiques Pures et Appliqu´ees), SMF (Soci´et´e Math´ematique de France) and SMAI (Soci´et´e de Math´ematiques Appliqu´ees et Industrielles) gave rise to a wiki–style website concerning mathematics in the world, with an emphasis on cooperation involving French mathematicians and mathematicians from developing countries:

· The Online Survey of European Researchers in India, an initiative of the Science and Technology Delegation of the European Union to India, has been launched in February 2010. It will lead a database of European researchers who have links with Indian colleagues.

· The two French institutes, CSH (Centre de Sciences Humaines) and IFP (Institut Franc¸ais de Pondich´ery), are joint institutes of CNRS and MAE (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs) since 2007. Among their missions is the development of scientific international collaboration in the Indian subcontinent. Both institutes aim to develop cooperation in mathematics and statistics, including applications to social sciences and humanities.

· A Cyber University called FICUS (French Indian Cyber-University in Sciences) already started with the mathematics component called e-m@ths

In France, e-m@ths is being funded within the frame of the Campus Num´eriques request for proposal. It proceeds from the desire of the applied maths and pure maths communities to position themselves within the field of Information Technology for Education. It is an opportunity to gather together both communities through a joint project that could kick-start the development of collaboration in creation and utilisation of learning materials. The purpose of the “e-m@th” project is the design of a bilateral curriculum of graduate type (Masters, first year of PhD) involving Indian and French institutions. The goal is the design, implementation and operation of education modules in applied mathematics for initial or continuing education. Simultaneously, the project aims at strengthening the links and collaboration at the research level between the scientific teams involved in the construction of the curriculum.

· The CIMPA, already mentioned, a non-profit international organisation established in Nice (France) since 1978, whose aim is to promote international cooperation in higher education and research in mathematics and related subjects, particularly computer science, for the benefit of developing countries, organised several research schools in India. Here is the list:

January 1996: Pondicherry University

Nonlinear Systems

org. Y Kosmann-Schwarzbach, B Grammaticos and K M Tamizhmani.


September 2002: TIFR Mumbai (Bombay)

Probability measures on groups: Recent Direction and trends,

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (Bombay)

org. S Dani, P Gratzyck, Y Guivarc’h.


December 2002: Kolkata (Calcutta)

Soft Computing approach to pattern recognition and image processing. Machine Intelligence Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta

org. Ashish Ghosh, Sankar K Pal.


February 2003: Pondicherry University

Discrete Integrable Systems, Pondicherry

org. Basil Grammaticos, Yvette Kosmann-Schwarzbach, Thamizharasi Tamizhmani.


January 25–February 5, 2005: IISc Bangalore

Security for Computer Systems and Networks

org. K Gopinath and Jean-Jacques L´evy.


January 2–12, 2008: IIT Bombay (Mumbai)

Commutative algebra

org. L L Avramov, M Chardin, M E Ross, J K Verma, T J Puthenpurakal.


Three CIMPA Research Schools are scheduled for 2013:

July 8–19, 2013: Indian Institute of Science Bangalore

Current Trends in Computational Methods for PDEs

org. Blanca Ayuso de Dios and Thirupathi Gudi


November 18–30, 2013: Shillong

Fourier Analysis of Groups in Combinatorics

org. Gautami Bhowmik and Himadri Mukherjee


November 25–December 6, 2013: University of Delhi, New Delhi

Generalised Nash Equilibrium Problems, Bilevel Programming and MPEC

org. Didier Aussel and C S Lalitha


· A joint Indo–French Conference in Mathematics took place from December 15 to 19, 2008, at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences of Chennai. There were some 10 plenary lectures and 30 lectures in parallel sessions, half of them given by Indian mathematicians and the other half by French mathematicians.

Since H Cartan passed away a few days before this meeting (at the age of 104), two special lectures (by J Oesterl´e and C S Seshadri) were devoted to him on the last day.

· The most important part of cooperation between France and India in mathematics is constituted by the new results proved by the joint works of mathematicians from both countries. We conclude with two such outstanding results. The first one is the final step to the determination of Waring’s constant g(4) = 19 in 1986 by R Balasubramanian, J-M Deshouillers and F Dress [2, 3]:

Any positive integer is the sum of at most 19 biquadrates.

The second one was called Serre’s Modularity Conjecture, until it was finally proved in 2006 in a joint work by Chandrashekhar Khare and Jean-Pierre Wintenberger [6, 7]:


$$rho : G_{Q}rightarrow GL_2(F)$$

be an absolutely irreducible, continuous, and odd two-dimensional representation of $$G_Q$$ over a finite field $$F=F_{l^r}$$ of characteristic $$l$$. There exists a normalised modular eigenform


of level $$N=N(rho),$$ weight $$k=k(rho),$$ and some Nebentype character $$chi : Z/NZrightarrow F^*$$ such that for all prime numbers p, coprime to $$Nl,$$ we have






A preliminary version of this text has been improved thanks to comments by Anitha Srinivasan, M S Raghunathan, Gilles Godefroy, Emmanuel Tr´elat, Jean-Pierre Demailly, Claude Levesque and Samy Ponnusamy. I am also thankful to Gautami Bhowmik for a number of grammatical and linguistic corrections.



[1] A. Bag, Mathematics in Ancient and Medieval India (Chaukhamba Orientala, Benar`es, 1979).

[2] R. Balasubramanian, J.-M. Deshouillers and F. Dress, Probl`eme de Waring pour les bicarr´es. I. Sch´ema de la solution, C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris, S´er. I Math. 303 (1986) 85–88.

[3] R. Balasubramanian, J.-M. Deshouillers and F. Dress, Probl`eme de Waring pour les bicarr´es. II. R´esultats auxiliaires pour le th´eor`eme asymptotique, C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris, S´er. I Math. 303 (1986) 161–163.

[4] G. H. Hardy, L’apologie d’un math´ematicien; Ramanujan, un math´ematicien indien; Bertrand Russell et le Coll`ege de la Trinit´e, Un Savant, une ´Epoque. [A Scientist, an Era], Librairie Classique Eug`ene Belin, Paris, 1985. Translated from the English by D. Jullien and S. Yoccoz, with a preface by J.-P. Kahane, with a postface by C. P. Snow.

[5] G. R. Kaye, Indian Mathematics (Calcutta & Simla, Thaker, Spink & Co., 1915).

[6] C. Khare and J.-P. Wintenberger, Serre’s modularity conjecture. I, Invent. Math. 178 (2009) 485–504.

[7] C. Khare and J.-P. Wintenberger, Serre’s modularity conjecture. II, Invent. Math. 178 (2009) 505–586.

[8] R. Narasimhan, The coming of age of mathematics in India, in Miscellanea Mathematica (Springer, Berlin, 1991), pp. 235–258.

[9] K. Plofker, Mathematics in India (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2009).

[10] M. S. Raghunathan, Artless innocents and ivorytower sophisticates: Some personalities on the Indian mathematical scene, Current Science 85 (2003) 526–536.

[11] S. Ramanujan, Ramanujan’s Notebooks [Part I (Springer, New York, 1985) MR0781125 (86c:01062); Part II (1989); MR0970033 (90b:01039); Part III (1991); MR1117903 (92j:01069); Part IV (1994); MR1261634 (95e:11028); Part V (1998); MR1486573 (99f:11024)]. The Notebooks will be available online in 2010.

[12] M. Santiago, International Conference on Teaching and Research in Mathematics, in Birth Centenary Celebrations of Father Charles Racine, S. J. Loyola College, Racine Research Centre, Chennai (January, 1997).

[13] C. N. Srinivasiengar, The History of Ancient Indian Mathematics (The World Press Private, Ltd., Calcutta, 1967).

[14] V. S. Varadarajan, Algebra in Ancient and Modern Times, Vol. 12 of Mathematical World (American Mathematical Society, Providence, RI, 1998).

[15] A. Weil, Mathematics in Indian Universities, Seventh Conference of the Indian Mathematical Society, Trivandrum, Scientific Works. Collected Papers. Vol. I (1926–1951) (Springer-Verlag, New York-Heidelberg, 1931). Scientific works. Collected papers, [17] pp. 127–128.

[16] A. Weil, Mathematics in India, Usp. Mat. Nauk 3, I (1936) 286–288. Scientific works. Collected papers,

[17] pp. 129–131.

[17] A. Weil, Scientific Works. Collected Papers. Vol. I (1926–1951) (Springer-Verlag, New York, 1979).

[18] A. Weil, Souvenirs d’apprentissage, Vol. 6 of Vita Mathematica (Birkh¨auser Verlag, Basel, 1991).

[19] A. Weil, Number Theory, An Approach Through History from Hammurapi to Legendre, Modern Birkh¨auser Classics (Birkh¨auser Boston Inc., Boston, MA, 2007). Reprint of the 1984 edition.

[This is an updated and revised version of the article published in Special Issue on Mathematics Newsletter, Vol. 19, Sp. No. 1, August 2010, p. 1-12]


Author: – Michel Waldschmidt.

Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6), France


Michel WaldschmidtMichel Waldschmidt obtained his PhD from the University of Bordeaux in 1972. He joined Pierre and Marie Curie University (or The Paris VI University) as Assistant Professor (1972–1973), and he became a Professor in 1973. He became a full Professor at the Paris VI University in 1978, and he was full Professor (Exceptional Class) since 1989 at the same university. Professor Waldschmidt was awarded the Albert Chatelet Medal (1974), Foundation Peccot, College de France (1977), Gold Medal CNRS (1978), Marquet Prize of the French Academy of Sciences, Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow, IAS, Princeton (1985), Distinguished Award of the Hardy–Ramanujan Society (1986), Honorary Fellow of the Hardy–Ramanujan Society (2006). He was the President of the French Mathematical Society (2001–2004). Professor Waldschmidt is very active in international collaboration in mathematics research, in particular Iran–France, Taiwan–France, and also with India, Pakistan, Kurdistan, and African countries. He was the Deputy President of CIMPAICPAM (2005–2009), and he was its Regional Scientific Advisor (2009–2011). Professor Waldschmidt has published more than 150 scientific papers, and he has trained 20 research students. He is also a member of the editorial board of several international journals on mathematics.


[This article originally appeared in the Asia Pacific Mathematics Newsletter (Volume 2 No 2, April 2012), World Scientific. Republished here with special permission from World Scientific.]