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My Mathematical Universe

People, Personalities, and the Profession

Krishnaswami Alladi

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Naturwissenschaften, Medizin, Informatik, Technik / Mathematik


This is an autobiography and an exposition on the contributions and personalities of many of the leading researchers in mathematics and physics with whom Dr Krishna Alladi, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Florida, has had personal interaction with for over six decades. Discussions of various aspects of the physics and mathematics academic professions are included.

Part I begins with the author's unusual and frequent introductions as a young boy to scientific luminaries like Nobel Laureates Niels Bohr, Murray Gell-Mann, and Richard Feynman, in the company of his father, the scientist Alladi Ramakrishnan. Also in Part I is an exciting account of how the author started his research investigations in number theory as an undergraduate, and how contact and collaboration with the great Paul Erdős as a student influenced him in his career.

In-depth views of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and several major American Universities are given, and fascinating descriptions of the work and personalities of some Field Medalists and eminent mathematicians are provided.

Part II deals with the author's tenure at the University of Florida where he initiated several programs as Mathematics Chair for a decade, and how he has served the profession in various capacities, most notably as Chair of the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize Committee and Editor-in-Chief of The Ramanujan Journal.

The book would appeal to academicians and the general public, since the author has blended academic and scientific discussions at a non-technical level with descriptions of destinations in his international travels for work and pleasure. The reader is invited to dig as deep as desired and is guaranteed to be treated to whimsical stories and personal peeks at some of the great luminaries of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.


  • Foreword written by George Andrews (member of The National Academy of Sciences)
  • Development as a Mathematician:
    • Boyhood Contact with Eminent Scientists
    • Decision to Pursue Mathematical Research
    • Graduate Student Days at UCLA (1975–78)
    • First Job at the University of Michigan (1978–81)
    • Visits to Princeton and Austin (1981–83)
    • To Be or Not to Be
    • Major Change in My Life and in My Research
  • Chairmanship and the Ongoing Ramanujan Mission:
    • Some Major Programs and Initiatives (1998–2008)
    • Riding the Wave as Chair: Ups and Downs
    • Post Chairmanship
    • Some Special Conferences and Events
    • Fostering the Legacy of Ramanujan
    • Collaboration with Erdős, Andrews, and Gordon

Readership: University professors, graduate, undergraduate, high school students, general public interested in events in the academic world.

'This is a richly detailed and fascinating account by one of the most influential mathematicians of our time, of the people he has known, the mathematics he has enjoyed, and the challenges he has encountered.' - David M BressoudMacalester College, MinnesotaFormer President of the Mathematical Association of America

'I heard about Krishnaswami Alladi from my father, the late Professor M V Subbarao, about 50 years ago when Alladi was just an undergraduate student. I was a great admirer of Krishnaswami's father Alladi Ramakrishnan who combined academic excellence with institution building. Professor Krishnaswami is a worthy successor to his father's legacy and this fine autobiography details both his research accomplishments and his contributions to the profession.' - M VidyasagarSERB National Science Chair, IIT Hyderabad,Fellow of the Royal Society

'Krishna Alladi's autobiography is a gripping account not only of his own fascinating life but of so many interesting people whom he met throughout his brilliant career. (Biological) son of a great scientist and (biological) grandson of an eminent statesman (a signer of the Constitution of India), and (academic) son of a great number theorist and (academic) grandson of an even greater scientist, with his great story-telling talent, and wonderful 'name-dropping' gift (in the best sense of the word!), he weaves a beautiful tapestry of contemporary (and past) mathematics. In spite of its many pages, there is never a dull moment. Enjoy!' - Doron ZeilbergerBoard of Regents Professor, Rutgers University

'In the style of the hero, a prominent mathematician, and an ingenious writer, this autobiography is cheerful and colorful, gleeful and graceful, resourceful and respectful. The theme is beautifully laid out with unbelievable episodes and unforgettable snapshots of legendary figures and their fairy tales. One sees a vivid and edifying account of the east and the west. Given the exclusive background and the unique angle of the author, this autobiography is a kaleidoscope of the recent decades of mathematics - of the who, what, where, when and why.' - William Y C ChenDirector, Center for Applied Mathematics, andVice-President, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China

'Alladi takes the reader on a trip through his personal universe to visit galaxies and solar systems (academic networks and institutions); one meets numerous stars (mathematicians and physicists), but also some dark matter (ups and downs of a department head). One wonders whether all this happened during the life span of one human being! The book has a broad spectrum of themes - math education, culture of India, mathematical stories, and much, much more. Alladi's 'travelogue' is highly recommended to mathematicians ofany age.' - Peter PauleDirector, Research Institute of Symbolic Computation, Linz, Austria

This is a fascinating autobiography on the remarkable career and life of Krishna Alladi. It covers not only mathematical research, teaching, administration and publishing, but also his family life, world travel, and tennis, in a seamless way which makes it very hard to put down. It touches on two countries and cultures (India and US), different major public universities in the USA, and a host of other topics. A great read, especially for those with STEM-related ambitions or interests!' - Alfred W HalesProfessor Emeritus, UCLA, and Polya Prize Winner

Key Features:

  • Written not only for members of the mathematical discipline but also the wider academic community and the general public
  • In-depth discussion of various aspects of the academic profession
  • Appealing descriptions of the personalities of eminent researchers
  • Fascinating accounts of international travel destinations

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