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Who is Manjul Bhargava? 10 things to know about the Fields Medal winner

Bhargava is the first person of Indian origin to win the Fields, regarded as the Nobel Prize of Mathematics

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

Manjul Bhargava (Pic credit: Infosys Science Foundation)

On Tuesday, set a record by becoming first person of Indian origin to win the Fields Medal, popularly known as the of The award is given out every four years by the Mathematical Union (IMU) to mathematicians who are not over 40 for their existing work as well as ‘promise of future achievement’. Bhargava turned 40 on August 8 this year.

Here are 10 must-know things about the math whiz.

1) Bhargava is best known for this work on number theory, especially the Gauss composition law.

2) The first sign of his genius came when he won the prestigious Morgan Prize in 1996 for the work he did even at the bachelor’s degree stage.

3) Bhargava is the Brandon Fradd Professor of at in New Jersey, the youngest ever person to be offered a full tenure barely two years after graduate school, and, at 28, the second youngest to be offered tenure.

4) Bhargava was born in Canada but raised in Long Island, NY, where his mother was a professor of at Hofstra University.

5) He is famous for his popular class for first-year students, "The Mathematics of Magic Tricks and Games," in which students explore the mathematical principles behind games and magic tricks.

6) In 2013, Bhargava was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest disciplinary academic bodies in the country that houses subject matter experts who advise the government on issues related to science and technology.

7) Bhargava is also an accomplished tabla player, and has trained under such experts as Ustad Zakir Hussain.

8) In an interview to US-based newspaper India Abroad in 2008, his mother Mira said Bhargava hated school as a kid and would bunk classes to go sit in his mother’s office or classes.

9) In an interview to the same paper, Bhargava himself conceded that his focus is on pure research, rather than applications of his research, saying that not having to think about application of his work enabled him to go in new, pure directions.

10) Attached to the country of his parents, Bhargava travels to India often and collaborates with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research as well as the Indian Institutes of Technology on pedagogical issues, he told the paper.

ALSO READ: Indian-origin academician wins 'Nobel Prize' of maths

First Published: Wed, August 13 2014. 14:49 IST
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