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Eminent mathematician Dr Mangala Narlikar passes away at 80

Dr Mangala Narlikar, an eminent mathematician and the wife of Dr Jayant Narlikar who is the founder director of Pune-based Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), passed away. She was 80.

Dr Mangala Narlikar carried out research in pure mathematics. She initially worked at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai before joining as a lecturer at Bombay and Pune universities. Her core fields of interest were real and complex analysis, analytic geometry, number theory, algebra and topology.

Dr Mangala Narlikar Biography

  • Narlikar studied from the University of Bombay and received degrees of B. A. (Maths) in 1962 and M.A. (Maths) in 1964 with first rank and also won the Chancellor’s gold medal. She married, Jayant Narlikar, a well known cosmologist and physicist, in 1966. They have three daughters, Geeta, Girija and Leelavati, all of whom have pursued careers in science; one (Geeta) is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco, and the other two are in computer science.
  • From 1964 to 1966 Narlikar worked as a Research Student and Research Associate in the School of Mathematics of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. From 1967 to 1969 she taught the undergraduate school at the University of Cambridge. From 1974 to 1980 she again worked in the School of Mathematics of TIFR.
  • She obtained her Ph.D. degree in mathematics from the University of Bombay, 16 years after her marriage, in 1981 on the subject of analytic number theory. After obtaining her doctoral degree, she continued to work with TIFR from 1982 to 1985 as a Pool Officer in the School of Mathematics. Her teaching assignments from 1982 to 1985 was for M Phil class in the Department of Mathematics in the University of Bombay. She also taught at intervals in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Pune from 1989 to 2002 and taught M Sc students at the centre in Bhaskaracharya Pratishthan from 2006 to 2010.
  • Narlikar’s core fields of interest are real and complex analysis, analytic geometry, number theory, algebra, and topology.
  • On writing books on mathematics, Narlikar wrote: “I enjoyed writing a book on how to make mathematics interesting and accessible”.
  • On her combining her profession with looking after the household functions she wrote: “My story is perhaps a representation of the lives of many women of my generation who are well educated but always put household responsibilities before their personal careers”.

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