Indian American mathematician and physicist (1923–1983)
  (Redirected from Harish Chandra)

Early lifeEdit

Harish-Chandra was born in Kanpur (then Cawnpore), British India. He was educated at B.N.S.D. College, Kanpur, and at the University of Allahabad. After receiving his master's degree in Physics in 1943, he moved to the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore for further studies in theoretical physics and worked with Homi J. Bhabha.

In 1945, he moved to University of Cambridge, Cambridge and worked as a research student under Paul Dirac. While at Cambridge, he attended lectures by Wolfgang Pauli, and during one of them pointed out a mistake in Pauli's work. The two were to become lifelong friends. During this time he became increasingly interested in mathematics. At Cambridge he obtained his PhD in 1947.

When Dirac visited Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, U.S.A. in 1947/48 he brought Harish-Chandra as his assistant. It was at this stage that Harish-Chandra decided to change over from physics to mathematics. He was a faculty member at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey from 1963. From 1968, until his death in 1983, he was IBM von Neumann Professor in the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey. He died of a heart attack while on an evening walk on 16 October 1983, during a conference in Princeton in honour of Armand Borel's 60th birthday. A similar conference for his 60th birthday, scheduled for the following year, instead became a memorial conference. He is survived by his wife, Lalitha (Lily), and his daughters Premala (Premi), and Devaki.

Honors and awardsEdit

He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S. and a Fellow of the Royal Society.[2] He was the recipient of the Cole Prize of the American Mathematical Society, in 1954. The Indian National Science Academy honoured him with the Srinivasa Ramanujan Medal in 1974. In 1981, he received an honorary degree from Yale University.

The mathematics department of V.S.S.D. College, Kanpur celebrates his birthday every year in different forms, which includes lectures from students and professors from various colleges, institutes and students' visit to Harish-Chandra Research Institute.

The Indian Government named the Harish-Chandra Research Institute, an institute dedicated to Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, after him.

Robert Langlands wrote in a biographical article of Harish-Chandra:

He was also a recipient of the Indian civilian honour of the Padma Bhushan (1977).[6]


  1. ^ A Biographical Memoir
  2. ^ a b c Langlands, Robert P. (1985). "Harish-Chandra. 11 October 1923-16 October 1983". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 31: 198–193. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1985.0008. JSTOR 769925. 
  3. ^ Harish-Chandra at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Harish-Chandra", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews .
  5. ^ Varadarajan, V. S. (1984). "Harish-Chandra (1923–1983)". The Mathematical Intelligencer. 6 (3): 9–5. doi:10.1007/BF03024122. 
  6. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 



External linksEdit