Celebration of National Mathematics Day

A one-day conference was organised by Vigyan Prasar on 22 December 2019 to celebrate National Mathematics Day. The workshop was conducted at Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Centenary College, Rahara, West Bengal, where 120 students and 30 teachers and science communicators participated.

In the inaugural function, Swami Kamalaasthananda, Principal, Vivekananda Centenary College, welcomed all the participants and explained the importance of National Mathematics Day. Dr. Nakul Parashar, Director, Vigyan Prasar, explained why mathematics is important in engineering, medical science, data science, statistics and all other science related developments.

Professor Bimal Kumar Roy, Chairperson, National Statistical Mission, delivered the key-note address. He said teaching effective mathematics to primary and middle school students is challenging. He narrated several anecdotes to explain method of science and how mathematics is important in conducting experiments. He explained how the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics was based on mathematical principle of randomisation. In a very interesting way professor Roy explained how bank locker can be safeguarded by using digital three-key system instead of present two-key system. In a very lucid way, Professor Roy explained public key cryptography, proof of experiment (zero knowledge proof). He asked the participants to think whether a zero-knowledge proof is possible to make EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) more secured.

Professor Purobi Mukherjee, ex-professor and writer, talked about works of mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan in the field of prime numbers, super symmetry and importance of his work in present-day mathematics. Professor Mukherjee said, Nobel laureate S. Chandrasekhar once said as long as human civilisation continues, Ramanujan’s work will be valid.

Dr Satyabachi Sar, ex-professor of Tripura University and writer of several mathematics books, talked about Ramanujan as a student and how he thought about the problem of zero divided by zero at a very early age. Professor Sar highlighted contributions made by Ramanujan and informed that probabilistic number theory was developed based on Ramanujan’s work. He explained why Ramanujan number 1729 is very interesting, and how one can make a magic square using one’s date of birth.

The first technical session was conducted by Professor Parthasarathi Mukhopadhyay from Ramakrishna Mission Residential College, Narendrapur. Professor Mukhopadhyay gave elaborate presentation on history of zero and how the concept of zero was known to the entire world after being conceptualised in India. He explained that place value system is essential in number system and the concept was first used in India. The second technical session was conducted by Professor Mrinal Nandi from West Bengal State University. He explained different mathematical concepts like randomness, probability and explained differences between theorem, axiom, assumption and paradox.