Vashishtha Narayan Singh

Vashishtha Narayan Singh (2 April 1946 – 14 November 2019) was an Indian academic. A child prodigy, he completed his PhD in 1969. He taught mathematics at various institutes in the 1960s and 1970s. Singh was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the early 1970s and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. He went missing during a train journey and was found years later. He was again admitted to the hospital and later returned to academia in 2014.

Vashishtha Narayan Singh
Born(1946-04-02)2 April 1946
Basantpur, British India
Died14 November 2019(2019-11-14) (aged 73)
Patna, Bihar, India
Alma materNetarhat Residential School
Patna Science College
University of California, Berkeley

Early life and careerEdit

Singh was born on 2 April 1946 to Lal Bahadur Singh, a police constable, and Lahaso Devi in the Basantpur village of the Bhojpur district in Bihar, India.[1][2][3]

Singh was a child prodigy.[1] He received his primary and secondary education from Netarhat Residential School, and he received his college education from Patna Science College.[4][5] He received recognition as a student when he was allowed by Patna University to appear for examination in the first year of its three-year BSc (Hons.) Mathematics course and later MSc examination the next year.[6][7]

Singh joined the University of California, Berkeley in 1965 and received a PhD in Reproducing Kernels and Operators with a Cyclic Vector (Cycle Vector Space Theory) in 1969 under doctoral advisor John L. Kelley.[8][9][2][1]

After receiving his PhD, Singh joined the University of Washington at Seattle as an assistant professor, and then returned to India in 1974 to teach at Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.[10] After eight months, he joined Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Bombay where he worked on a short-term position. Later he was appointed as a faculty at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.[11][2][1]

Later lifeEdit

Singh married Vandana Rani Singh in 1973 and they divorced in 1976. He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia.[10][2] With his condition worsening in the late 1970s, he was admitted to the Central Institute of Psychiatry in Kanke (now in Jharkhand) and remained there until 1985.[1]

In 1987, Singh returned to his village of Basantpur. He disappeared during his train journey to Pune in 1989 and was found four years later in 1993 in Doriganj near Chhapra of Saran district.[10][8] He was then admitted to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore. In 2002, he was treated at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), Delhi.[1]

In 2014, Singh was appointed as a visiting professor at Bhupendra Narayan Mandal University (BNMU) in Madhepura.[12][7][13]

Singh died on 14 November 2019 at Patna Medical College and Hospital in Patna after prolonged illness.[2][14]

In popular cultureEdit

Filmmaker Prakash Jha announced a biographical film on Singh's life in 2018.[10][15] Singh's brother Ayodhya Prasad Singh, citing pending legal guardianship issues, said that no film rights had been granted.[1][16]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g "India's unknown beautiful mind". The Economic Times. 16 November 2019. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Jha, Sujeet (14 November 2019). "Mathematician, who challenged Einstein's theory, dies; family made to wait for ambulance". India Today. Archived from the original on 14 November 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  3. ^ Mishra, B. K. "Vashishtha Narayan Singh dies: A mathematician who ignited minds". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  4. ^ "India's own beautiful mind?". Business Standard. 5 July 2013. Archived from the original on 9 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Achievements of Netarhat Vidyalay". Netarhat Vidyalay. Archived from the original on 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  6. ^ "Nation fails its sick maths wizard". The Times of India. Patna. 3 April 2004. Archived from the original on 8 January 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Maths wizard Vashistha Narayan Singh dies at 78 in Patna hospital". Hindustan Times. 15 November 2019. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Noted mathematician Vashishtha Singh no more". The Hindu. 15 November 2019. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Vashishtha Narayan Singh". University of California, Berkeley. Archived from the original on 15 February 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d "चांद पर पहली बार गया था इंसान, ऐसे की थी वशिष्ठ नारायण ने NASA की मदद". (in Hindi). Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  11. ^ "Disturbed Genius in Penury : Former IIT Prof. Vasistha Singh". The PanIIT Alumni Association. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  12. ^ Prasad, Bhuvneshwar (19 April 2013). "Forgotten mathematics legend Vashishtha Narayan Singh back in academia". The Times of India. Patna. Archived from the original on 19 June 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  13. ^ "Noted mathematician Vashishtha Singh dies; hospital denies ambulance to carry his body". The Week. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  14. ^ "Mathematician Vashishtha Narayan Singh Dies In Patna". Archived from the original on 14 November 2019. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  15. ^ "Prakash Jha to Direct Biopic on Mathematician Vashishtha Narayan Singh". News18. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  16. ^ "No authority to make biopic on Vashishtha Narayan Singh: Mathematician's brother Ayodhya Prasad Singh". Free Press Journal. 10 August 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2019.