04-2020 Quand je ne serai plus la …..

It can happen any time. It will happen to all. When my time comes, I do not want my friends to wonder why Partha does not answer mails or phone calls. If this ever happens to you, for an unreasonably long time :

  1. Take a look at my twitter account https://twitter.com/profpartha (@profpartha)
    I usually post some stuff there regularly, at least 2-3 times a week. When the tweets stop coming, the inevitable has happened.
  2. Call up home by phone to find out.
  3. Find out from my next of kin :
    • premap2@gmail.com
    • parishramp@gmail.com
    • prayathna@gmail.com
  4. inform all our common friends and contacts

Thank you in advance, since I cannot thank you when the time comes.

Adieu,

partha

PS: I was prompted to make this announcement when my friend passed away and I learnt about that by accident, four years later.

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT WAS MADE ON 2020-02-10

03-2020 RIP Kryzstof Cetnarowicz

kryzstof

My friend of 40 years, Kryzstof Cetnarowicz, seems to have left this world sometime ago. I got to know this sad news thanks to a chance conversation with the wife/widow of my PhD guru.
Kryzstof was a Professor at the AGH University of Science and Technology , Krakow, Poland, where I met him last in 2009.

aghlecture

In fact, Kryzstof had invited me for a talk on the role of non-functional specifications in software engineering, at his institute.

It was also a beautiful holiday for my wife and me. Thank you Kryzstof, may peace be with you forever.


To come, to know, to learn to part, is the sad tale of many a human heart.

Adieu cher ami.

Quand je ne serai plus la ….

02-2020 Mysteries of Indian TV !

There is a lot to learn from Indian TV !

  1. Why do Indian police stations always have a world globe on the Inspector’s desk when policemen never cross the street if the other side is not in their jurisdiction ?
  2. Why do they show warning messages whenever there is a scene showing smoking or drinking ? Why dont they delete those scenes altogether instead of showing those meaningless warnings ? And, why is there no warning with scenes involving other crimes like murder, bank holdup, rape …?
  3. Are maths teachers always grumpy , sadistic people ? Or is maths such a horrible subject ? Why do we always malign maths and maths teachers ?
  4. When there is a conductor in front of an orchestra, why does he seem to follow the orchestra rather than the other way around ?
  5. What is the blue liquid they show on commercials for sanitary napkins and diapers ?
  6. Why do they show toilet basins in grand detail and in closeup when they try to sell toilet cleaner liquids ? Don’t they know that most of the times these disgusting commercials are displayed during during dinner time or when people are having meals ? Why don’t they learn some decency or discretion from those selling diapers and sanitary napkins ?
  7. Why do they show only men for promoting products for bad mouth odour ?
  8. Why do they use only women for promoting under arm deodarants and rollons ? Idem hair remover creams ?
  9. Are sports shoes worn only by men ?

If you have watched some more absurdities like the ones above, just let me know on drpartha@gmail.com.

01-2020 Macau we will never forget you.

My most pleasant memories always lead me to Macau (erstwhile Portugal colony in current China), with all my family on an assignment with United Nations University.
macau
chopsticksWe decided to take souvenirs which would be useful for us always. We chose two such amazing pieces of Chinese culture (and of course plenty of porcelains): the Abacus, and Chinese chopsticks. We (my children and I) even spent several weeks trying to master the abacus. We took an abacus for each one of us.

My wife joined us when we had training sessions on the use of chopsticks !abacus We bought a pair for each one of us.

We will always remember our visit to Macau.

I wish we had an “action replay” button in our life. Till then, Macau will be in my dreams every day.

55-2019 How a chance discovery saved a precious mathematical legacy.

THE LOST NOTEBOOK OF RAMANUJAN

Ramanujan’s last major contribution “mock theta functions” were almost lost forever, but for a fortunate discovery made years later. The story of the lost note book goes like this ::

Ramanujan’s lost notebook is the manuscript in which the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan recorded the mathematical discoveries of the last year (1919 — 1920) of his life. Its whereabouts were unknown to all but a few mathematicians until it was rediscovered by George Andrews in 1976, in a box of effects of G. N. Watson stored at the Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge and were due to be incinerated in a few days. The “notebook” is not a book, but consists of loose and unordered sheets of paper — “more than one hundred pages written on 138 sides in Ramanujan’s distinctive handwriting. The sheets contained over six hundred mathematical formulas listed consecutively without proofs.The manuscript contains no introduction or covering letter. In fact, there are hardly any words in the manuscript. There are a few marks evidently made by a cataloguer, and there are a few remarks in the handwriting of G. H. Hardy.

After Ramanujan died on April 26, 1920, at the age of 32, his wife Janaki had given his notebooks to the University of Madras. On August 30, 1923, the registrar Francis Drewsbury sent much of this material to G. H. Hardy, Ramanujan’s mentor at Trinity College, where he probably received the manuscripts of the lost notebook.

Almost surely, this manuscript, or at least most of it, was written during the last year of Ramanujan’s life, after his return to India from England. Undoubtedly, the most famous objects examined in the lost notebook are the mock theta functions.

Some time between 1934 and 1947 Hardy probably passed the notebook on to G. N. Watson, who with B. M. Wilson started on the project of editing Ramanujan’s notebooks. However, Wilson died in 1935 and Watson seems to have lost interest in the project in the late 1930s. After Watson’s death in 1965, J. M. Whittaker examined Watson’s papers (which were a complete mess, due to be incinerated in a few days) and found Ramanujan’s notebook, which he and R. A. Rankin sent to Trinity College Wren library on December 26, 1968. The lost notebook George Andrews, following a suggestion by Lucy Slater, found the lost notebook in the spring of 1976 while on a visit to Trinity College. George Andrews and Bruce C. Berndt have published several books in which they give proofs for Ramanujan’s formulas included in the notebook. Bruce C Berndt says of the notebook’s discovery: “The discovery of this ‘Lost Notebook’ caused roughly as much stir in the mathematical world as the discovery of Beethoven’s tenth symphony would cause in the musical world.”

The “lost notebook” was published on December 22, 1987, by Narosa publishing house, India, 67 years after Ramanujan died !

Also see :: Remembering Ramanujan

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54-2019 When a mother almost killed her own son ………

When a mother almost killed her own son …….

It is not known to many that the legendary Indian mathematician Ramanujan attempted suicide in 1918, by jumping before a train. Ramanujan was under mental depression, brought about by the harsh weather he was not accustomed to, strict and inappropriate dietary habits, very demanding and stressful research activity, poor health conditions, war related miseries, and above all, separation from his newly married wife Janaki. Luckily, he was saved just in time, because the driver slammed the brakes in time.

There is a saas-bahu twist to Ramanujan’s tale. When he returned to India in 1919, he was miffed at Janaki, his wife. Ramanujan rebuked her, “I wrote so many letters, at times once every week, but you chose not to reply even once”. Mystified, sobbing Janaki told him that she was writing letters frequently even when none were received from Ramanujan. She was handing over letters to her mother-in-law for posting, as she had no money for even postage. Both of them then realised the dirty game played by the mother-in-law in hiding letters from each other. Many years later, Dr S Chandrasekar recounted his conversation with Janaki Ammal, who apprehended that longing for loving words from his wife perhaps was one of the contributory factors for Ramanujan’s depression, which led to him to the attempted suicide. The selfish mother never thought of the consequences of her foolish and cruel act.

This episode has a sad and cruel climax. Just a few months later, the mother had to see with her own eyes, the painful death of her own son. The mother could not even repent the injustice she had done to her own son, and ask his forgiveness.

See Remembering Ramanujan

53-2019 Yet another filthy festival (#4)

53-2019 Yet another filthy festival (#4)

FirecrackerIt is time for yet another filthy festival celebrated in the name of religion. This jewel in the crown of religious madness is called “Diwali” or Deepavali, and is due in a few days. We will of course see all the filth and garbage which usually accompany such religious exhibitions. Add to all that, all the noise, smoke and poison showered generously using fire-crackers and explosives. Factor-in the number of accidents where people get hurt or property destroyed. You have the best reason to call Diwali the ultimate nonsense in religious freedom.

The only persons who seem to enjoy all this rubbish are the businessmen and shopkeepers. They allure you with cleverly-worded campaigns filled with dubious “festival offers” , and add insult to injury.

Long live religious liberty, to hell with commonsense and social responsibility.

  1. Filthy festival #1
  2. Filthy festival #2
  3. Filthy festival #3
  4. Filthy festival #4

Is there any way to save the planet ?

Stop celebrating such religion motivated festivals, and follow the example given by Greedy Greens.

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52-2019 Made for each other and for தமிழ்

This is an update and sequel to my earlier post on my friend Shrinivasan and his wife Nithya . They continue to amaze everyone with their collaboration and achievements. Recently, they adopted a baby girl and gave her a தமிழ் name : இயல் . Their elder child (a boy) is called வியன் .The choice of two unusual, but pure தமிழ் names shows their respect and love for தமிழ். Their sustained contributions to தமிழ் did not go unnoticed or unrewarded.

I am blessed and proud to know Shrini and Nithya personally.

50-2019 Yet another filthy festival (#3)

We just crossed a filthy festival in India. It is time to drown in one more display of filth, noise, garbage and nuisance. durgaThis is called “Durga Pooja” (aka Durga puja) and was once celebrated, only in Assam and West Bengal states of India. It is now common to see it almost all over India. This time, it will be the goddess of strength/power who will be venerated with all the din and noise she deserves. Streets will be blocked, to erect pompous “pandals” . Blaring noise will be played on loudspeakers, austensibly to promote devotion and prayers. The grande finale will, as usual, include processions in the name of immersion, where all lakes, rivers and water bodies will be poisoned. Add all the filth and garbage which will fill our streets, and with anti-social activities of the muscle-men behind all this.

Long live “religious freedom”. Too bad for you, if you do not agree.