The Indian Mathematical Society

Founded in 1907

The Indian Mathematical Society was founded on 4 April 1907 by V Ramaswami Aiyar with twenty Foundation Members and with its head-quarters at Pune.

On 16 May 1907, V Ramaswami Aiyar wrote to the Mathematical Gazette as follows [1]:-
It may perhaps interest you to know that I have formed a Mathematical Society here. It started with twenty members, and twenty-three more have up to date proposed to join. I shall not be surprised if our membership at the end of the year be something like 75. The annual subscription is 25 rupees (£1. 13s. 4d.). Our object just now is to have a central library from which to obtain Mathematical journals and books, for opportunities of seeing which those interested in Mathematics in India have very few facilities. I have already written for about 30 to 40 journals - English, American, French, and German. At present it is a mere book and journal club, but when the membership is sufficiently advanced we may possibly be able to start an elementary Mathematical Journal. If the Society succeeds its success will in no small measure be due to the 'Mathematical Gazette', which is the chief source of mathematical enlightenment in India. Tantalising reviews appear in the 'Gazette', but the individual has not the means of getting the text-books. We are ambitious of getting all the best books and journals and placing them within the reach of every member. At the same time we hope that Indian students my receive such a stimulus as will elicit capacity for research in the years to come.
A full account of V Ramaswami Aiyar founding of the Society is given in his presidential address of 1926, extracts of which are given at THIS LINK.

Initially the Society started its activities under the name 'Analytic Club', being referred to under that name on 3 April 1907, but it was changed to the 'Indian Mathematical Club' at the time when its founding was announced on 4 April 1907. B Hanumantha Rao was the first President of the Society, serving in that role from 1907 to 1912 and seeing it through its initial stages. In 1910, when the revised rules and constitution were adopted, the Society acquired its present name, the 'Indian Mathematical Society'. Right from the beginning, they published 'Progress Reports', the first in September 1907, which became a journal, known as the "Journal of the Indian Mathematical Club" for the 1907 and 1908 volumes, but changed to "Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society" from the 1909 volume onwards. M T Naraniengar edited the 'Progress Reports' and continued when they became the Journal. He continued in this role until 1927.

The Society aims at promoting the 'Cause of Mathematics' at all levels. Its central activity is to inspire and encourage researchers, educationists, students and all people who love mathematics.

The first conference of the Society was held at Madras in 1916. The second conference was held at Bombay in 1919, the third in Lahore in 1921 and the fourth in Pune in 1924. From that time on, a conference was held every two or three years until 1951 when it was decided to hold the conferences annually. The Twenty Fifth conference of the Society, which was held at Allahabad in 1951, was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime minister of India. In more recent times Memorial Award Lectures have been delivered at the annual conferences of the Society. These are:
  1. The P L Bhatnagar Memorial Award Lecture (instituted in 1987).

  2. The Srinivasa Ramanujan Memorial Award Lecture (instituted in 1990).

  3. The V Ramaswamy Aiyar Memorial Award Lecture (instituted in 1990).

  4. The Hansaraj Gupta Memorial Award Lecture (instituted in 1990).

  5. The Ganesh Prasad Memorial Award Lecture (instituted in 1993 and delivered every alternate year).
The Silver Jubilee Celebrations, to celebrate the first 25 years of the Society, had been held in Pune on 26 March 1932 under President R P Paranjpye. At these celebrations the Society decided to publish a second journal, namely 'The Mathematics Student', which first appeared in 1933. Its first editor was A Narasinga Rao who continued to edit the publication for eighteen years until 1950.

The Mathematics Student continues publication of the following material:
(i) the texts (written in a way accessible to students) of the Presidential Addresses, the Plenary talks and the Award Lectures delivered at the Annual Conferences,

(ii) general survey articles, popular articles, expository papers, Book-Reviews of selected Books,

(iii) problems and solutions of the problems,

(iv) clever proofs of theorems that graduate/undergraduate students might see in their course work,

(v) research papers of interest to larger readership, and

(vi) articles that arouse curiosity and interest for learning mathematics among readers and motivate them for doing mathematics, etc.
The centenary celebrations were held at Pune in December 2007, coinciding with the 73rd Annual Conference of the Society.

The Indian Mathematical Society awards a number of prizes:
  1. The A Narasinga Rao Memorial Prize, awarded to the author of the best research paper published in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society or The Mathematics Student.

  2. The P L Bhatnagar Memorial Prize, awarded annually to the top scorer(s) of the Indian team at the International Mathematical Olympiad.

  3. Various prizes for the "Paper Presentation Competition" in the annual conference are awarded to young mathematicians. These awards are made in a number of different areas of mathematics.
Finally we wish to record the important role that the Indian Mathematical Society played in allowing Srinivasa Ramanujan to be known to the world. Ramanujan met with Ramaswami Aiyar at his office in 1910, and brought one of his famous notebooks to show Ramaswami Aiyar. Not only did Ramaswami Aiyar recognize the brilliance that he saw in the notebook, but he also realised the importance of bringing Ramanujan and his mathematics to the wider mathematical world where others would be able to appreciate the importance so much better than he could. The worldwide mathematical community owes a huge debt both to Ramaswami Aiyar and the Indian Mathematical Society for this. Ramanujan published a paper consisting of questions in the 1911 volume of the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society as well as a fifteen page paper entitled "Some properties of Bernoulli Numbers". In total, Ramanujan published twelve papers in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society.

Below is a complete list of the presidents of the Society.
1907-1912 B Hanumantha Rao
1912-1915 R N Apte
1915-1915 E W Middlemast
1915-1917 R Ramachandra Rao
1917-1921 A C L Wilkinson
1921-1926 H Balakram
1926-1930 V Ramaswamy Aiyar
1930-1932 M T Naraniengar
1932-1934 P V Sheshu Iyer
1934-1936 H G Gharpure
1936-1940 R P Paranjape
1940-1942 R Vaidyanathswam
1942-1947 F W Levy
1947-1949 M R Siddiqui
1949-1951 A Narasinga Rao
1951-1953 T Vijayraghavan
1953-1957 Ram Behar
1957-1959 V Ganapathy Iyer
1959-1960 B S Madhav Rao
1960-1961 B N Prasad
1961-1962 B S Madhav Rao
1962-1963 C N Srinivasienger
1963-1964 Hansaraj Gupta
1964-1966 P L Bhatanagar
1966-1968 R S Verma
1968-1969 P L Bhatanagar
1969-1970 R P Bambah
1970-1971 M Venkatraman
1971-1973 J N Kapoor
1973-1974 K G Ramanathan
1974-1975 V Krishnamurthy
1975-1977 P C Vaidya
1977-1979 U N Singh
1979-1981 K Venkatchelienger
1981-1982 V V Naralikar
1982-1984 R S Mishra
1984-1985 R P Agarwal
1985-1986 S D Chopra
1986-1987 H C Khare
1987-1988 V Singh
1988-1989 M K Singal
1989-1990 M P Singh
1990-1991 V M Shah
1991-1992 D K Sinha
1992-1993 V Kannan
1993-1994 U P Singh
1994-1995 H P Dixit
1995-1996 N K Thakare
1996-1997 S Bhargava
1997-1998 A R Singal
1998-1999 B K Lahiri
1999-2000 A S Gupta
2000-2001 Satya Deo
2001-2002 P V Arunachalam
2002-2003 M A Pathan
2003-2004 T Parthasarathy
2004-2005 T Thrivikraman
2005-2006 Sarvajit Singh
2006-2007 I B S Passi
2007-2008 R B Bapat
2008-2009 A K Agarwal
2009-2010 Peeyush Chandra
2010-2011 R. Sridharan
2011-2012 P K Banerji
2012-2013 Huzoor H Khan
2013-2014 Geetha S Rao
2014-2015 S G Dani
2015-2016 A M Mathai

Visit the society website.

References (show)

  1. An Indian Mathematical Society, The Mathematical Gazette 4 (65) (1907), 106-107.
  2. M T Naraniengar, V Ramaswami Aiyar, the founder of the Society: A life sketch, in Volume dedicated to the memory of V Ramaswami Aiyar, Math. Student 39 (1971), i-iv.

Last Updated February 2018