One of India’s most prestigious scientific prize is the Infosys Prize awarded every year in different categories. The 2015 Infosys Prize in Mathematics was awarded to Prof. Mahan Mj for his outstanding contributions to geometric group theory, low-dimensional topology and complex geometry. In particular, Prof. Mj established a central conjecture in the Thurston program to study hyperbolic 3-manifolds and introduced important new tools to study fundamental groups of complex manifolds.
The citation by the jury is
Mahan Mj’s most prominent result is a proof of Thurston’s conjecture that every Kleinian surface group admits a Cannon-Thurston map. A Kleinian surface group is a properly discontinuous action of the fundamental group of a closed surface on hyperbolic 3-space by isometries. A Cannon-Thurston map is a continuous equivariant map from the boundary of the surface group into the boundary of hyperbolic 3-space. In many cases, the Cannon-Thurston map will be a sphere-filling curve. As a consequence Mahan Mj proves that if the limit set of a finitely generated Kleinian group is connected, then it is locally connected. This result has already had many applications in the study of hyperbolic 3-manifolds and Mahan Mj and his co-authors have studied Cannon-Thurston maps in more general geometric group theoretic settings. The Jury was also impressed by Mahan Mj’s varied work on pattern rigidity and fundamental groups of complex manifolds.
Prof. Mj is a professor of mathematics working at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research now. He was born Mahan Mitra in 1968 and went to St Xavier’s Collegiate School in Kolkata. He went to IIT Kanpur, initially to major in Electrical Engineering, but switched later to mathematics. He graduated with a Masters degree in 1992. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley and received in 1997. He joined the Ramakrishna Mission in 1998 and in 2008 and became a monk. He received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award in 2011. More details about the prize can be found here.
An interview was Prof. Mj was published in Gonit Sora and can be viewed here. It is also worth mentioning that previous winners of this prize include many distinguished mathematicians including Prof. Manindra Agarwal, Prof. Ashoke Sen and others.