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More than just number crunchers...
The Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI) was set up in 1989 by the munificence of SPIC’s A C Muthiah to stimulate education and research in science. The Institute offers graduate, post-graduate and doctorate programmes in Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science.

N R Narayana Murthy, co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Infosys, addressed the outgoing students at the 14th convocation of the CMI.  Murthy opined that mathematicians are amongst the most exclusive factions in the world and that he is in envy of their great minds.

Mathematics, the language of the universe, offers the power to “precisely, concisely and elegantly express one’s views.” Every conceivable subject, including war, peace, music, wealth and birth can be explained mathematically, said Murthy.

There are multiple schools of thought, which advocate the theory that nature is built on the foundations of mathematics. Since the beginning of time, great mathematicians have employed mathematics in solving Nature’s many mysteries and utilised their knowledge for the betterment of the world. Euclid’s Elements, written in 300 BC, is one of the most prominent works in geometry and is still pertinent.

 

Predictive, accurate...

 

Theories in mathematics are not only predictive but are also accurate. The French mathematician’s eponymously named Knot Theory, which was initially an incorrect model of an atom, proved to be pivotal in understanding DNA and String Theory, both of which are crucial in explaining all the forces of nature, he said.

Murthy pointed out how mathematics is omnipresent and has left indelible impressions on every facet of our daily lives. For instance, without the General Theory of Relativity,

GPS would never have been invented and without the Quantum Theory DVDs and laser printers would not exist. Mathematicians like Boole, Turing and Godel all made significant contributions to the field that later formed the basis for the invention of the computer.


India, home to math wizards

Murthy said that mathematicians are part of an influential and exclusive group of people with the power to make extraordinary things happen. Today’s Indian mathematicians are the successors of Aryabhatta, Ramanujan, Brahma Gupta and countless other minds behind some of the most remarkable breakthroughs in the subject. Indian mathematicians discovered zero, negative numbers and infinity.

Murthy said that single-minded focus on delivering compelling results at a young age coupled with curiosity, the ability to think out of the box, question existing practices and the daring to be different would take these newly-minted mathematicians to even greater heights than they ever dreamed. Even those venturing into the corporate world would be able to employ their skills rewardingly.  He said he took no decision in Infosys without first consulting mathematical models and simulations. For those leaving the country, Murthy asserted the need to raise the image of India abroad and proudly display that we are a nation of competent mathematicians. He implored them to be open minded, respectful, humble and unbiased.

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